Shimul or Red silk-cotton, Bombax ceiba

Shimul or Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, family: Malvaceae) is one of the most common trees that found in Bangladesh. This deciduous straight tall tree with thorny trunk and spreading crown is also found in tropical regions of Asia. In Bangladesh, the tree is planted in parks and on highways and beside national monuments for its gorgeous fire-red flowers. It can reach a height up to 60 m.


Common names: Shimul, Red silk-cotton, Red cotton tree.

Leaves are large, spreading, glabrous, digitate, leaflets lanceolate, entire, 10-15 cm long; petiole is up to 20 cm long. It blooms in spring (March-April). 


Flowers red, numerous, appearing when the tree is bare of leaves, stamens numerous arranged in five outer bundles and one middle bundle. 


Fruit capsules, woody valves. 10-13 cm in length. Seeds smooth, black or grey embedded in long white wool.

Oh! the flame of the forest!

Young plant is used in dysentery, cough, plethora, malnutrition and sexual diseases. Wood is soft and used to make match boxes and sticks. The fruit is light-green in color in immature, brown in mature fruits. 

 The trunk of bombax ceiba is covered with rigid and pointed thorns.

The roots of bombax ceiba is used in dysentery. The gum is used in burning sensation, blood impurities. The bark is use for fomenting and healing wounds. 

Young leaves in the spring are very eye-catching.

A paste of it is good for skin eruptions. Leaves good for strangury. Flowers are astringent and are good for skin troubles. 

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