Bring back some good or bad memories


November 14, 2020

Hurricane Tree, Nassau, Bahamas, ca. 1890

This giant silk cotton (or Ceiba tree) was located near the public square. Called the largest tree in the world at one time, it is well built to survive the area’s hurricanes.

Ceiba pentandra is a tropical tree of the order Malvales and the family Malvaceae, native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South America, and to West Africa. A somewhat smaller variety is cultivated in southern and southeast Asia.

Kapok is a name used in English speaking countries for both the tree and the cotton-like fluff obtained from its seed pods. In Spanish speaking countries the tree is commonly known as “ceiba”. The tree is cultivated for the seed fibre, particularly in south-east Asia, and is also known as the Java cotton, Java kapok, silk-cotton or samauma. The tree is a sacred symbol in Maya mythology.

According to the folklore of Trinidad and Tobago, the Castle of the Devil is a huge C. pentandra growing deep in the forest in which Bazil the demon of death was imprisoned by a carpenter. The carpenter tricked the devil into entering the tree in which he carved seven rooms, one above the other, into the trunk. Folklore claims that Bazil still resides in that tree.


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