Kapok-Tree Fruit

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Kapok-Tree Fruit from Ceiba pentandra, the large kapok tree of the tropics. The young leaves, buds, fruits, and seeds are edible. They are mucilaginous and may be eaten like okra. The green fruits may measure 14 cm (5.5"). A variety of this tree is important in Indonesia, as Ochse (1980) explains, with a thought-provoking display of reticence at the end of his explanation.

During three fourths of the year the tree stands leafless; in that time it flowers and bears ripe fruits. These fruits furnish the celebrated wool generally known under the name of capok, which is used, besides for filling mattresses and cushions, for a great many other purposes. But on this matter I will be silent.