What’s the Spiky Tree?

June 3, 2008 | By | Comments (5)

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?

Patty Williford
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.



  1. Grumpy

    Papaya seeds are only going to produce papaya trees. I do not know if you can graft a papaya tree onto a silk floss tree, but as they do not belong to the same plant family, I seriously doubt it. Grumpy

    September 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm
  2. Maria Ribeiro

    Dear Grumpy,
    I´m sorry, my English is not good.
    My question was,for the silk floss tree have fruits? Now I know, the tree has fruits. I see on the internet under the silk floss tree side.
    Do you know, if it is possible from the papaya seeds to have the silk floss tree? Or possible to graft papaya it on the silk floss tree?
    I hope you understand my questions.
    Thank you, Maria.

    September 23, 2008 at 5:57 pm
  3. Grumpy

    I think something was lost in translation. If you’re asking me whether papaya trees will have fruit in Florida, the answer is yes, but primarily in south Florida, because frost greatly reduces fruit production. Grumpy

    September 22, 2008 at 9:43 am
  4. Maria Ribeiro

    We have 3 of this tree on our garden in Portugal. We got a Papaya fruit in Florida, and from this fruit we got the seeds and the trees. Do you know if have fruit which is in Florida?
    Thanks, Maria

    September 21, 2008 at 1:11 pm
  5. LetsPlant

    I have 2 of them in my yard too. They are only 8 feet tall or so but they are very fascinating trees!

    June 3, 2008 at 5:51 pm

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