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FLOWERS, AND TREES AND THORNS, OH MY!!!
Within the Gladys Porter Zoo compound in Brownsville, Texas, there I saw the most beautiful flowering tree, but it was also such a lethal looking tree. And, tho I can take pride in knowing a lot of names for hundreds of flowers, plants, bushes and trees...I DID NOT know this species. In fact, long time ago...when I was a kid and all our travels, I remember seeing one of these. But then, at that time in my life, I wasn't interested in 'growing or knowing'. The only thing I knew back then was if it's edible, my dad can grow it. [Did I ever tell you about his experimenting on his acreage all sorts of things you wouldn't think of growing in Colorado? Like pineapples and even peanuts? ---yep, he grew many things. And all quite successful too. The pineapples produced --but small compared to Hawai'i's huge ones. And the peanuts? Yep, they produced also...quite a crop I might add. But he never did roast them that I recall. He used them in bird feeders, and the squirrels love 'em]. But that's neither here nor there. Today, I wanted to post about the tree I saw again. I took pictures. And, it's a frightening looking 'creature'!!! Yet, the flowers that were blooming were so breathtakingly beautiful. It was gigantic in size. My guess is it jutted up into the sky close to 50 or 60 feet!! But the trunk....whoa, the trunk was massive in diameter, and lethal. Why? It had humongous, wicked-looking THORNS!! And the size of the thorns were in width of my thumbnail!! Barbarous comes to mind even thinking of them as I type my post.
Okay, so upon returning home, and the following day as I battled to recover my lost photos from the camera's memory card, I spotted the photos I took of this said tree and its blossoms. Still, I didn't know what breed of tree it was. And lo and behold...off to Google I go. I typed in 'big thorny green bark flowering tree'...lol, yep that's exactly what I typed for my search. I viewed and read several pages that were linked as they came up in the search, and after ten or twelve loaded for me, I found it!!
It's called Silk Floss Tree. Native of Brazil. And they're propagated from seeds!! Yet, from what I gather in my reading they're quite common in the tropical areas of Old Mexico and some references to them existing in USA...mainly in Florida and California. Well, I'll be.
Not only was this particular tree in the zoo grounds blooming, there were seed pods on the walkway. Naturally, I picked up one pod and stuffed it into my pocket. I have the dried seeds, but I doubt whether I will plant them, unless I can keep it controlled in a large planter. You see, from the sites I read about them, they grow to the height of 60 feet or more and the trunk size IS enormous when matured. But the flowers....wow. Simply gorgeous. Tropical...orchid like in texture and markings.
Are you wanting to see the two photos I saved from our day trip?
POSTED: Wednesday, October 28th, 2009