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Castle’s Kapok Trees

IMG_1664I’ve blogged on the castle-like old school before but never its front yard! And WOW what a front yard it has! Seen here lining its main sidewalk from the road to the building are two majestic Kapok trees. Though they may not be the biggest or most famous on the island they stand out like giants and do command notice.

Here’s my Wikipedia condensed research version of Kapok Tree: Also known as Ceiba & Silkcotton, it’s the National tree of Puerto Rico & Guatemala. It grows up to 230 ft tall (10 ft a year) and has a very substantial trunk up to 10 ft in diameter which does NOT  include its buttresses (legs/roots). It was also the sacred tree of the Mayans who believed that the souls of the dead climbed a mythical Kapok Tree whose branches reached to the heavens. Most commercial trees come from the island of Java in Indonesia, Asia, Philippines, Malaysia, & South America. The buoyant & water-resistant fibers of its cotton-like pod were used during WWII in lifejackets known jokingly as Mae West’s being large and floaty! :-) Its bark has a medicinal purpose and has been used as a diuretic, aphrodisiac, and to treat headaches as well as type II diabetes. Its most prevalent commercial uses are in furniture, insulation, caskets, canoes, & carvings.

You can find these majestic giants greeting you at the curb of this castle-like building at the corner of Southard Street & Margaret Street in Key West.

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