Plant Mystery–What Is It?

A few nights ago my nephew sent images of a plant that he saw on a walk in Hawaii.

Foliage and Flowers

Foliage and Flowers

Pods

Pods

Seeds and Silk

Seeds and Silk

I thought that it might be in the milkweed family, but most of the Asclepias pods that I have seen have a nubby texture.

I sent my nephew an email with my thoughts. Later I received an email from his mother and she thought it was similar to the silk cotton tree, Kapok. I checked out her guess, and noticed there were several differences.

So, I sent an email to my friend who works at the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. And this is what he wrote–

Calotropis procera (formerly Asclepias…good call). The Kapok tree (either Ceiba pentandra or Ceiba speciosa or [Chorisa speciosa]) is quite a robust tree which has prominent black spines on the trunk, even when young.

I googled Calotropis and found this great picture to confirm the mystery plant’s identity.

Calotropis

Mystery solved!

Thanks, Bryan.



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