Two succulent mallows: Ceiba speciosa and Pseudobombax ellipticum

Walker, Colin (2021). Two succulent mallows: Ceiba speciosa and Pseudobombax ellipticum. New Zealand Cactus & Succulent Journal, 74(1) pp. 16–19.


All succulent mallows now belong to the family Malvaceae (formerly in either the Bombacaceae or Sterculiaceae). Here two species are showcased.

Ceiba speciosa is still most commonly encountered as Chorisia speciosa. It is a pachycaul with a wide distribution in South America: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru. It has an immensely basally-swollen stem up to 20m tall, bearing prominent stem prickles. The flowers are very variable ranging from white to crimson and variously mottled.

Pseudobombax ellipticum is widely distributed in Central American and the Caribbean. It also forms an attractive basally-swollen pachycaul with contrasting striped bark and deciduous digitate leaves.

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