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Natural kapok provides these outstanding benefits:

Kapok is soft, breathable, non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

The fiber is light, very buoyant, resilient and resistant to moisture.

Much lighter than cotton, Kapok has a uniquely down-like softness, without the dust mites or allergen discomforts associated with goose down feathers.

There is no need to cut down the kapok trees to harvest the fiber which is used in bedding products.

Being lighter than cotton, buoyant and resistant to saturation by water, kapok makes an excellent filler, and until the middle of the 1900's, nearly every stuffed life preserver and upholstered automobile seat was filled with kapok fibers.

Sources:The Rainforest Alliance, Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation, Maya-Archaeology

 

Natural Kapok

Kapok, a silky fiber, feeling much like milkweed or down, is sustainably harvested from the seed pods of the kapok tree. Found throughout the Neotropics, from southern Mexico to the southern Amazon, West Africa and Asia, it is a giant of the rainforests. The kapok, or ceiba tree, can reach up to 200 feet in height, growing as much as 13 feet per year. The trunk can expand to nine or ten feet in diameter. In the nooks and grooves of this huge plant live a diverse number of species including frogs, birds and bromeliads.

The kapok tree is deciduous, shedding all of its leaves during the dry season. As its seeds are easily blown into open areas, kapok trees are some of the first to colonize open areas in the forest. The white and pink flowers of the kapok tree emit a foul odor that attracts bats. As the flying mammals move from flower to flower feasting on the nectar, they transfer pollen on their fur, thus facilitating pollination. The kapok tree does a great job at spreading its seeds, producing anywhere between 500 and 4,000 fruits at one time, with each fruit containing 200 seeds. When these fruit burst open, silky fibers spread the many seeds all over the forest. The seed pods are taken off and the fiber within extracted. There is no need to cut down the trees to harvest the fiber which is used in bedding products.

Historically, the majestic kapok tree has had many uses for humans. While the wood of Ceiba is soft and light, and thus not suitable for furniture, it has been used commercially for pulpwood and plywood. Lightweight and porous, it good for making carvings, coffins and dugout canoes. The Mayas of Yucatan formerly wove mantas or blankets from the silky fiber contained in the fruit. During the 1940s this fluff, or kapok, that surrounds the seeds was harvested commercially for stuffing life preservers, seat cushions, mattresses and saddles. Being lighter than cotton, buoyant and resistant to saturation by water, it made an excellent filler, and until the middle of the 1900's, nearly every stuffed life preserver and upholstered automobile seat was filled with kapok fibers. The seeds of Ceiba are rich in oil (20%) and protein (26%). The edible oil can also be used for soap and lighting while the "seed-cake" leftover after pressing for oil can be used to feed livestock. The seeds, leaves, bark and resin of the giant tree are used to make medicines.

The ancient Mayan word for the Kapok tree means "raised up sky". The Maya believed that a great Kapok tree stood at the center of the earth. Its magnificent canopy symbolized the heavens and its flowers symbolized the stars. Today, the Kapok tree remains a true tree of life, supporting vital rainforest plant and animal life.