Australian Kapok Tree

Family: Bixaceae
Genus: Cochlospermum
Species: fraseri
Main Flower Colour: Yellow


A small deciduous tree that grows in rocky areas across northern Australia. Lobed leaves fall from the tree during the dry season so that the bright yellow flowers are easily seen. After the yellow flowers are pollinated, large, globular, green, papery fruit develop, which eventually turn brown and split along the seams to release their seed. The small black seeds are woven in a dense mat of fine silky hairs. This material is known as 'kapok'.

Flowering start in July.


The main flower colour is yellow.


Kapok was apparently used to stuff life preservers during the Second World War, although confusion exists as to whether the native or exotic species was used.

Kapok has also been used as stuffing in pillows, and mattresses although extreme care should be taken if you smoke in bed. The Kapok fibres are highly flammable and almost explode in flame if a lit match is applied. For this reason, it is apparently good tinder to use when starting fires by friction with two sticks.


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Bio Regions

Central Kimberley (CEK), Victoria Bonaparte (VIB), Northern Kimberley (NOK), Pine Creek (PCK), Daly Basin (DAB)

Region Specifics

Mornington, Kimberley, WA

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