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Champion Kapok Tree in Florida

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I was just informed by Mark Torok,an Inspector for the Florida Department of Agriculture, that the Kapok Tree(Ceiba petandra) I nominated located South of Whitehall(Henry Flagler's Mansion)is indeed a State Champion Tree.Mark called me from the tree and said he was "kind of blown away".This is the tree Dave pictured in his Florida travels and I actually nominated it after Eric suggested it.Mark said that they were having great difficulty measuring it's cicumference because it was a little surreal.

The tree has an interesting history.It was planted by the Garden Supervisor at Flagler's Royal Poinciana Hotel in 1892.Flagler passed in 1914 and the Royal Poinciana burned down in the 20's.Flagler's widow,Mary Kenan Flagler,actually wanted it cut down in the 20's because it blocked her view. This led a group of locals to buy the land in order to preserve the tree.The Champion is located on the premises of the Royal Poincianna Chapel at 60 Cocoanut Row,Palm Beach and many weddings take place underneath it's massive shade.

Interestingly,Mark also measured a new Champion Green Buttonwood on the Island the same day.

This tree weathered both the 1928 and 1949 Hurricane no worse for wear.Also watched fires and all sorts of wild things.

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Good to hear that and thanks for that history on the tree. There is another big one (but not as big as the Flagler tree) in Palm Beach in a private garden. I saw it in a magazine spread a few years ago. The Flagler tree is amazing and almost evertime I go to SoFL I make a detour off the Turnpike just to see this tree. I wish I had a person for scale, it is unreal. In the 2nd photo, that buttress root that is in the middle, is about 6ft high.

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Eric, Thank you for your great shots.I know the other tree in the private garden.I would not have started the process without your statement to that effect.Accordingly,It is really a Champion because of your idea!

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What tree was previously listed as champion?

I can't imagine a bigger one in FL than the Flagler tree

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A Kapok located in Key Biscayne. Mark said it was not even close.

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Heres some pics I took of the kapok back in 2003. Sorry for the bad quality pictures, I must of had a crappy camera back then.

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Ok, it might not be a Kapok tree, but does someone know what this one is near the entrance to Fairchild Tropical Gardens?

Steve

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Edited by steve 9atx
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Ok, it might not be a Kapok tree, but does someone know what this one is near the entrance to Fairchild Tropical Gardens?

Steve

I know what tree your talking about. I took a picture of it too. I had the name written down somewhere, but can not find it at the moment.

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Its Albizia niopoides. It is a very strong tree, It withstood Hurricane Andrew in good shape.

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