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Glossary Item

Kapok : kapok

Effective 2 July 2019

Preferred Term: kapok

Other Terms:


Kapok is a cotton-like fibre obtained from the fruit pods of the kapok tree or silk-cotton tree, Ceiba pentranda. The fibre is a lustrous, yellowish floss that is light, fluffy, resilient, and resistant to water and decay. The plant is cultivated in Java, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and other parts of East Asia and in Africa. The fibre must be removed by hand from the pods, dried, freed from seeds and dust. It is used as stuffing, especially for life preservers, bedding, and upholstery, and for insulation against sound and heat. The seed kernel contains about 25% fatty oil used for soap or refined as edible oil. The residual cake is valuable as a fertilizer and as livestock fodder. It may also be called ceba, ceiba, Java cotton silk cotton, silk floss etc. Indian kapok comes from Bombax malabaricum.

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