Ceiba speciosa, from painter to hibiscus



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

“Natives of the Gulf of Kotzebue, Alaska, from ‘Voyage Pittoresque Autour du Monde’, 1822” oil on Canvas.Ludwig (Louis) Choris


By Tamara Jare

5 replies on “Ceiba speciosa, from painter to hibiscus”

Very interesting post.That is the most fascinating tree I have ever seen. Beautiful + exotic red blooms, stunning picture:-) An oil on canvas and look at that detail!Okay maybe I am weird but I see why they call that a “drunken stick”-lol!Send the warm our way!!!! It is 11 degrees and I feel it is warm today!


He was very talented, his works captured the historic details we are now happy to have, I think even better captures as they would bee with a camera, for there is something more human in drawings as it is in pics…..


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