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Pachira quinata / Bombax ceiba - Pochote


Native to:



Central America and northern South America (some accounts claim it's native to Asia and Australia).

Dry tropical forests. Up to 900 meters above sea level. 20 meters tall.

Pachira quinata / Bombax ceiba - Pochote

Ecological value:

Pollinated by bats and moths. Fast growing and drought tolerant - can thrive during 5-6 months of dry season. The tree coppices well. Used as live fences in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, by propagating vegetative stakes.

Material uses:

One of the most affordable woods in Costa Rica and used in furniture-making, guitars and other fine wood crafts. The wood is reddish-brown and durable. It’s used in construction, furniture and is suitable for veneer and plywood. It is said to have similar properties to Cedrela odorata.

Edible uses:

No part of tree is known for human consumption. Used as shade tree in coffee plantations.

Medicinal use:

Roots are used to treat diarrhea.

Other details:

Listed as vulnerable from overexploitation and habitat loss. Easy to propagate in large numbers from vegetative cuttings. Contains a hygroscopic gum which determines the degree of predatorily attach from wood-boring insects.


Hyunjung Kim/Christine Facella


“Bombacopsis Quinata - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 15, 2023.
Image source: Wendy Cutler.

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