Ceiba pentandra is a tropical tree of the order Malvales and the family Malvaceae (previously separated in the family Bombacaceae), native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South America, and (as the variety C. pentandra var. guineensis) to tropical west Africa. A somewhat smaller variety is found throughout southern Asia and the East Indies. Kapok is the most used common name for the tree and may also refer to the cotton-like fluff obtained from its seed pods. The tree is cultivated for the seed fibre, particularly in south-east Asia, and is also known as the Java cotton, Java kapok, silk-cotton, samauma, or ceiba.
Kapok’s qualities have made it popular for filling pillows, upholstery, and even life preservers, but its use has dramatically declined since the introduction of polyester/polyurethane foams.
Kapok is currently experiencing a small revival thanks to its all-natural characteristics.
Careful — kapok is flammable!
Unfortunately kapok is extremely flammable. We recommend no cigar, cigarette or other crazy candles or incense too close to your Kapok filled Everpillow.
While flammability is a viable concern, be aware that many traditional bedding products are treated with really nasty chemicals like formaldehyde to make them fire retardant. Is kapok’s flammability more of a concern than exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals? I would prefer kapok to a lot of the potentially toxic fire-retardant pillows currently available!