Pink Petaled Panther

|Ceiba speciosa|

|Ceiba speciosa|

If there is any one flower that would represent the city of L.A. it would have to be the flower of Ceiba speciosa or Silk-Floss Tree.  Ceiba, by the way, is pronounced (SAY-ba) and comes to us from Brazil. This crazy looking semi-deciduous tree reminds me of something out of Jurassic Park. Its trunk, when young, is studded with prehistoric looking thorns.  Very stegosaurus-like.

|Ceiba speciosa thorns|

|Ceiba speciosa thorns|

The tree itself can be a fast grower and get up to 25 to 60 feet tall.  When large it has quite a majestic quality to it.  Now, sure you've got a studded tree trunk and some luscious foliage but just you wait.  Come fall, the real surprise is when the tree produces striking billows of bright pink  to wine red fantastical five petalled flowers with magenta striated white centers looking like some sort of pink petaled panther.  I use branches of it for out of the ordinary cuttings.  It may be bit much for some but when you take a moment to look closer it is truly a thing of beauty.