English/ Common name- Cotton tree, Kapok Tree, Silk-cotton Tree

Local name- ಹತ್ತಿ ಮರ (Hatti mara)

Botanical name- Bombax ceiba

Appearance- A tall deciduous tree with a straight buttressed trunk having a clear bole of 24-30m and spreading branches, bark grey or brown covered with hard, sharp, conical prickles; leaves large, spreading glabrous, digitate, leaflets lanceolate, 3-7 entire; flowers red; numerous appearing when the tree is bare, stamens arranged in 5 bundles of 9-12 each and an inner bundle of 15; fruits capsules; dehiscing by 5 leathery or woody valves, seeds smooth, black or grey embedded in long white wool, flowering, and fruiting from January to May. It is found throughout India

Origin- The tree is native to India, tropical southern Asia, northern Australia, and tropical Africa.

Conditions required for growth- Cotton requires uniformly high temperatures between 21 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees Celsius. During October, the day temperature should be above 26 degrees Celsius which helps the ripening and bursting of cotton balls under the sunny skies. Along the growing period of at least 200 frost-free days is also necessary for the plant to mature. Rainfall should be moderate, ranging between 50-75 cm. The cotton plant needs sufficient rainfall in the early stages of growth, but sunny and dry weather is required after flowering.

Uses- Kapok is also used as stuffing for pillows, mattresses, and upholstery, as insulation material, and as a substitute for absorbent cotton in surgery. The timber is used for a variety of wood products, including paper.

Common remedies-

  • Blood purification (Part of the tree used - Leaves) : Take some 2-3 leaves of the tree and grind with water. Filter using a sieve and drink in the morning.
  • Acne, skin blemish, and pigmentation (Part of the tree used - Stem) : Take thorny parts from the stem of the tree. Make a paste of the root of the thorn with water by grinding it in a grinder or manually by a grinding stone. Apply to the affected area. This also lightens scar marks due to boils, freckles, acne vulgaris, and burns.




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