Buboi or kapok is planted in settled areas throughout the Philippines. It is possibly a native of tropical America, and is now pantropic in distribution. Buboi is an erect, deciduous tree, growing to a height of 15 meters or less. Trunk is cylindric, forming butaves are palmately compound, with 5 to 9 leaflets, lanceolate, 6 to 15 centimeters long, pointed at both ends. Flowers are numerous large, fragrant, and creamy white, about 3 centimeters long. Fruits are capsules, hartresses, usually bearing scattered, large spines. Branches are in distant whorls, spreading horizontally. Led, pendulous, leathery, oblong, about 15 centimeters long, 5 centimeters thick, containing numerous black seeds embedded in fine, silky hairs.
Edibility / Nutrition
– In Malaya, Java and Celebes, young leaves eaten as vegetable.
– Sprouts and young pods are also edible.
– In Nigeria, leaves are cooked into a slurry sauce, like okra.
– In West Africa, young leaves cooked and eaten as soup herb.
– Young leaves are very good sources of calcium and iron.
-Sprouts and young pods are also edible.
– Bark is reported to be vomitive and aphrodisiac.
– Decoction of bark used for catarrh.
– Tender fruit used as emollient.
– Decoction of bark regarded as a specific in febrile catarrh.
– Gum is astringent; used for bowel complaints. In children, gum with milk, given as cooling laxative. Also used for urine incontinence in children.
– Gum used as styptic, given in diarrhea, dysentery, and menorrhagia.
– In Liberia, Infusion of bark used as mouthwash.
– Infusion of leaves, onions, and a little tumeric, used for coughs.
– Young roots, shade-dried and powdered, is a chief ingredient in aphrodisiac medicines.
– Tap-root of young plant used for gonorrhea and dysentery.
– Bark in diuretic; in sufficient quantities, produces vomiting.
The fibers from the pods of this tree are very extensively used for stuffing pillows, cushions, and mattresses and are excellent for those purposes. They are also employed in making life-preserves. Kapok oil, which is extracted from the seeds, is used for the manufacture of the soap and as a substitute for cotton-seed oil. The fresh cake is valuable as stack feed. The trees are used as telephone poles and for fences. The young leaves are eaten as a leafy vegetable. Marańon states that the young leaves are very good sources of calcium and iron. Burkill reports that the seeds are eaten in Malaya and in Java and Celebes. The sprouts and young pods are also edible. The ashes of the fruit are used by dyers in Malaya.
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