- San Diego Zoo
Bloom time (approximate):
Floss Silk Tree, Pink Wink Chorisia speciosa
FAMILY: BOMBACACEAE (Kapok or Durian Family)
If you're riding on the San Diego Zoo's Skyfari aerial tram or flying over the Zoo in a plane in September, be sure to look at the green canopy just south of the Reptile House. You're likely to see a series of pink winks! Those are the wink-shaped rows of the gorgeous pink flowers blooming in our floss silk trees Chorisia speciosa. These South American trees often attract our guests' attention because of their bottle-shaped, smooth, green trunks studded with thorns; their imposing height and radiating branches; and, especially in September, their exquisite blooms and odd pods, followed by their cottony puffs.
The thorns on a floss silk tree trunk can be rather vicious. Our horticulture staff plants the trees in areas where it's unlikely that animals or guests might stumble into them.
Hummingbirds not only pollinate the floss silk tree flowers, they also use its pod fibers to make their nests. Although the leaves look a bit like marijuana leaves, the plants are not closely related.
If you're thinking of growing this lovely exotic in your own yard, think twice, unless you've got a lot of space. The floss silk's root system is large, invasive, and can be quite destructive of concrete foundations and walkways!