Golden Silk Cotton

The Golden Silk Cotton Tree is a wonderful harbinger of end of winters in my city. Its botanical name is Cochlospermum religiosum and belongs to the Bixaceae family. Some of its other common names are called Torchwood Tree, Buttercup Tree, Ganer, Sonali Simul. The name Golden Silk is probably from the silky fibers seen when the fruit bursts.

This bare tree on my walk route showing off it’s flowers!

The tree being deciduous in nature, drops all its leaves as winter begins. One begins to wonder if the bare tree will survive. But come January, with the first whisper of spring, the Ganer bursts into beautiful golden yellow flowers. They open before dawn and are said to be fragrant. I see them every year on the Vetal Tekdi but the blooms are usually very high up and impossible to reach till one drops down. A powerful camera can capture flower details but not its fragrance.

The flower

In a few months, the oval fruit develops and it rather looks like a Brinjal! It bursts to reveal seeds embedded in silky cotton.

Fruits that look like brinjals.

Further, the Buttercup Tree has very pretty foliage as well .. the leaves are lobed and pleated are add to its beauty when in leaf.

This native tree is grows in the subcontinent and finds a mention in the book Jungle Trees of Central India by Pradip Krishen. It is on the cover of the book Aple Vruksha by Prof SD Mahanjan.

Celebrity on the cover page!
A page from the book Jungle Trees of Central India by Pradip Krishen. A must have for tree lovers! See the silky fibres inside a burst fruit (top right).

Strangely, several attempts to propogate this tree have failed.. from seed, cuttings and so on. Hence, one can see this plant only in the wild.

Have you seen the Golden Silk Cotton Tree? It grows on the hills of Pune and is still blooming. The golden flowers will beckon you from the bare branches around it! It is well worth the effort to trek up and enjoy these wonderful blossoms.

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see some wonderful trees from around the world. Better still, join in.

13 Replies to “Golden Silk Cotton”

  1. Hi Archana,
    I haven’t seen the Golden Silk Cotton tree.

    We have the flowering Semals in deep red or coral in NCR. And the Silk Floss tree with pink flowers.
    I love the riot of colours when they flower. .

    I have Pradip Krishen’s Trees of Delhi.
    Central India is such a rich land and this guide by him must be as riveting as the other.

    I hope to see this beauty some day. Thank you Archana for this detailed post.
    Happy #TTL. 🤗

    1. Hi Natasha! Trees of Delhi is a great book. I have that as well! Pune has Semals that grow in the city so can be seen easily. I am so glad you stopped by. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Another new tree for me. I am not sure this is related to what they call the Kapok Tree. There was a very famous kapok tree in Clearwater, Florida which I ate in a couple of times in the 1960’s. One of the highlights was that kapok tree which was brought over from India around 1870. The restaurant closed in 1991 but, as far as I know, the tree is still alive and well.

    1. Thanks Alana for this info about the Kapok in Clearwater, Florida which had been brought from India!!! Good to know that the tree is still alive and well. The Kapoks that I know (from here) belong to the Ceiba genus of the Malavaceae family. I think their fruits too have silky fibres. That feature is similar to my tree of this post. For every post, I look forward to your insightful comments Alana! 🙂 Have a great day!

  3. I haven’t see this tree but the flowers do have a resemblance to a tree that I have in Bangalore. I have seen many trees that either can be seen only in the wild or in the city. Wonder if it’s about acclimatization or something else. Thanks so much for joining, Archana. See you tomorrow.

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