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kapok(kā`pŏk, kăp`ək), name for a tropical tree of the family Bombacaceae (bombaxbombax
, common name for the Bombacaceae, a family of deciduous trees, often tall and with unusually thick trunks, found chiefly in the American tropics. The family includes many commercially important members, e.g.
..... Click the link for more information. family) and for the fiber (floss) obtained from the seeds in the ripened pods. The floss has been important in commerce since the 1890s; the chief source is Ceiba pentandra, the kapok (or silk-cotton) tree, cultivated in Java, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and other parts of East Asia and in Africa, where it was introduced from its native tropical America. The floss is removed by hand from the pods, dried, freed from seeds and dust, and baled for export. The lustrous, yellowish floss is light, fluffy, resilient, and resistant to water and decay. It is used as a stuffing, especially for life preservers, bedding, and upholstery, and for insulation against sound and heat. The seed kernels contain about 25% fatty oil used for soap or refined as edible oil. The residual cake is valuable as a fertilizer and as livestock fodder. Kapok is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. , class Magnoliopsida, order Malvales, family Bombacaceae.
the fibers from the fruits of the ceiba plant (Ceiba pentandra), or silk-cotton tree, of the family Bambacaceae. The plant is native to tropical America; it is cultivated in the tropics, particularly in Asia. These white or brownish fibers have a length of 10–35 mm and a thickness of 0.02–0.04 mm. They are soft and form on the inner side of the husks not on the seeds. The fibers are nonwettable and do not become matted. In water, kapok is several times more durable than cork. After they are separated from the seeds and fruit parts, the fibers are dried, sorted, and compressed into bales. Kapok is used as a filling for life buoys, life jackets, furniture, mattresses, and pillows. It is also used as sound and heat insulation.