Cochlospermum orinocense (Tefé rose)
Flowers of Cochlospermum orinocense
Cochlospermum orinocense (Kunth) Steud.
Tefé rose, Orinoco shellseed (trade names), algodão-bravo, algodãozinho, envira-mamão, piriquiteira (Brazil), majagua (Panama), huina caspi (Peru), algodonillo (Bolivia), carnestolendo (Venezuela)
Not known to be threatened.
Secondary forest, forest margins and natural clearings; also in seasonal, dry forests.
Craft products, bark fibre, folk medicine, and occasionally as an ornamental.
About this species
Originally considered to be in the same family as the kapok tree, and then in a family of its own, the genus Cochlospermum is now known to be a relative of annatto (Bixa orellana) – a South American plant widely used as a food dye.
Cochlospermum orinocense was first encountered in 1800 on the banks of the mighty Orinoco River by the great explorers and naturalists Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland. Like a number of tropical trees adapted to survival in seasonal climatic conditions, C. orinocense flowers while leafless during the dry season, ready to develop fruits when the rains come.
As a ‘pioneer’ species it grows rapidly and can colonise cleared areas. Its flowers are pollinated by solitary bees during an intensely synchronised flowering period. If bees are scarce, flowers can self-pollinate and produce fruits.
Bombax orinocense Kunth