|The Kapok Tree, originally a native to South America, now is found in the rainforests of West Africa and Southeast Asia. It can grow to a height of 150 feet or more, towering over other trees in the rainforest.
The straight trunks are cylindrical, smooth and gray, and can reach a diameter of 9 feet. (If you live near Seattle, check out the life-size replica of the base of a kapok tree at the entrance to the Tropical Rain Forest at the Woodland Park Zoo.) Many plants and animals grow and live in the branches of the kapok tree. Birds nest in it, and mammals use the huge branches as highways. Frogs breed in the pools of water that collect in the bromeliads.
During the tropical dry season the kapok tree looses its leaves, leaving only pods on the tree. These pods burst open and expose the white silky fiber that surrounds the Kapok Tree’s seeds, and that we use in your meditation cushion. The kapok is borne away on the wind. Most emergent trees (ones that reach above the canopy of the rainforest) have wind borne seeds because they rise above the stagnant air of the rainforest and can take advantage of the breezes which blow there.