Food for the soul

The Chorisia speciosa  (floss silk tree) outside the Western Bay of Plenty District Council headquarters at Barkes Corner in Tauranga is in full bloom and what a magnificent sight it is.

The blooms of the Chorisia reveal the tree’s family connection to the hibiscus.

The late Australian plantsman Stirling Macoboy in his book What Tree is That? (Landsdowne Press, Sydney, in print continuously since 1979, revised in 2006) says the trees are hard to propogate outside their native South America but “the sight of a Chorisia in full bloom is food for the soul”.

He goes on to say that the flowers of one tree will never be the same as the flowers of another tree, differing in colour and structure. “The flowers will be five-petalled and basically pink … but beyond that they may vary from reddish to salmon in colour, their centres white or yellow, marked in deep red or brown, the petals plain or with rippled edges.”

However, and these are things to be considered, the tree grows very tall, 15m-plus, and the trunk is covered in thick thorns. No beauty without the beast.

Thorns on the trunk of a Chorisia.

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