Bombax Tree at St Pete’s MFA
If you’ve been in Downtown St Pete during the beginning of Spring, you’ve noticed the tall, climb-y tree next to the Museum of Fine Arts bursting with red blooms. But what kind of tree is that, anyway? We have some trivia for you so the next time someone say “That tree by MFA” you’ll be able to drop some knowledge on them.
The Bombax tree, sometimes called the red cotton tree (because the inside of the fruit has fibers that resemble cotton), is an Asian tropical plant that can grow anywhere from 65 to almost 200 feet tall in tropical areas. The tree loses all of its leaves in the winter time and just before new leaves grow in the spring, it blooms vibrant red five-petal flowers. In Southeastern China, these flowers are often dried and used for tea and the dry cores of the flowers are sometimes used in northern Thai cuisine.