Q: What is that tree you are hugging with the spikes? My husband and I just purchased a home with 9 acres and we have 2 of those trees and we don’t what they are. Please help?
Orange Grove, Texas
A: Hi Patty,
You must live in south Texas, because the tree I’m hugging (I’m so full of love) is a semi-tropical tree native to South America called silk floss tree (Chorisia speciosa). I was photographed embracing it and subsequently lowering my blood supply at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. Silk floss tree grows about 50 feet tall and wide. Its leaves usually drop in fall, followed shortly by the appearance of spectacular pink, rose, or purple flowers that are 4 inches across. The silky seeds that then develop give the tree its name. It likes full sun, good drainage, is doesn’t need a whole lot of water. Try climbing it, though, and you’d better have paramedics on hand with an IV.