What a tree! I met this one in Malaga and was completely fascinated the very moment I saw it, the silk floss tree that Spaniards call pallo boracho -the drunken stick.Scientifically it is Ceiba speciosa. And considered one of the most beautiful trees. And believe me, it is something special.The first impression is a bit weird as it is unusual to see tree bark covered with spikes and green from the top to the toes. But the big pink flowers opening at autumn, bring this tropical miracle into the centre of attention. Quiet interestingly, the plant had been wrongly systematized until recently. With former name Chorisia speciosa it was moved from family Bombacaceae to the family Malvaceae, where the hibiscus belongs, too. And the two do have flowers quite similar, just have a look at the hibiscus from Ljubljana Botanical Garden below!
What has a painter to do with this story? The plant got its former name-Chorisia speciosa- after Louis Choris, an artist on board of Rurik, investigating the passage into Bering sea and collecting natural history collections. Louis Choris was known for his authentic portrayals of indigenous people and nature. I particularly love his picture from Alaska (see below). May I use this opportunity for a message to all my dear readers in United States, deeply in snow and cold: take care , I wish you some warmer temperatures soon!
“Natives of the Gulf of Kotzebue, Alaska, from ‘Voyage Pittoresque Autour du Monde’, 1822” oil on Canvas.Ludwig (Louis) Choris