Kapok Tree/Illavam panju

Ceiba pentandra



General Information :

  • It is a moderate sized to large, deciduous tree.
  • The bark is smooth grey in color
  • Leaves are bright green and flowers creamy white in color.
  • The fruits are cylindrical capsule 10-15 cm long hanging like cucumber, greenish in color, 5 celled, lined with long, white, silky wool.
  • Seeds numerous embedded in white silky hairs. 

Distribution :

  • It is widely distributed, almost throughout India, excepting the arid regions. 

Habitat : Tropical Evergreen and Deciduous forest.

Soil : A well drained soil is necessary for its growth as it thrives well on deep, porous, sandy loam or alluvial flats on the bank of the streams.

Altitude :Up to 1200 m (MSL)

Rainfall :750-3000 mm

Temperature : 18°C to 38°C

Terrain : Plains / hilly.

Tree Characteristics :
  • Strong light demander, intolerant to suppression and  drought tolerant.

Habit : Deciduous Tree.

Planting Guidelines

Natural Regeneration :

Natural Regeneration:

  • Regeneration is very poor.
Artificial Regeneration
  • Propagated by direct sowing or Nursery raised seedlings.
Seed Collection and Strorage:
  • The fruits are collected from the trees in March-May, dried in the sun, and seed separated from floss by shaking the capsules in a bag.
  • The numbers of seeds per kg 45000 seeds
  • Germination percentage of 90-95%.
  • Viability of seeds is very low since the seed contain food reserves in the form of oils that tend to go rancid quickly.
Seed Treatment:
  • The seeds are soaked in water for 24 hours prior to sowing in cold to hot water. 
  Nursery Technique
  • The seeds are sown in polybags of size 13 x 25 cm at the rate of 2-3 seeds per bag.
  • Germination commences in about a week and is over within three weeks.
  • They are planted during north -east monsoon.
  • The young plants raised in light shade until they are 12-15 cm tall, than exposed to full sunlight until they are ready to be transplanted to the field (about 45-60cm tall).

Plantation technique :

Direct sowing:

  • Sowing carried out in raised patches 3.7 m x 3.7 m, just before th onset of monsoon, using 3 – 6 seeds per patch.
Nursery raised Seedlings:
  • The land is prepared by loosening the soil through ploughing and pitting with machinery.
  • Refilling with top soil
  • Pit size : 45 cm3
  • Spacing 5m x 5m or 5m x 6m can be adopted.

Care & Disease Control :

  • Fast growing species requires little weeding after one year.
  • Thorough weeding and soil working around the plants gives good results in growth of seedlings.
  • Pruning is done up to man’s height.

Irrigation :

  • For proper growth and survival it is necessary to give one or two waterings after planting.
  • This is specifically required in arid regions.
  • Irrigation after planting is not a prerequisite in areas having sufficient soil moisture and precipitation.
  • Higher survival rate and better rate of growth is reported when soil and water conservation measures are also adopted.

Recommended Harvest :

  • 30-45 years

Yield :

  • Approximately 2000 – 4000 kg/ha of floss annually.*
*Subject to varry according to site factors.

Market details :

  • Approximately Rs.5000 to Rs.7000/ton*
*Subject to change according to market demands