Kapok are the silky fibers which come from the pods (fruit) of the kapok tree. The silky fibers (kapok) itself is actually considered to be the “meat” of the fruit, holding the seeds inside for transporting when the pods open. These fibers are lightweight and when the pods from the kapok tree open, the kapok floats out to land wherever it may. Kapok is similar in feel to cotton only silkier, hence its nickname, “Silk-Cotton”. The scientific name for the kapok tree, which the kapok comes from, is ceiba pentandra.
Here is a picture of kapok: (Copyright to Wikipedia where this picture was sourced from.)
Kapok has many naturally occurring beneficial properties including being extremely lightweight, naturally insulating/temperature regulating (due to 80-90% fiber hollowness), anti-bacterial, water repellent, and anti-mite (a mite deterrent). Kapok is also incredibly buoyant due to its natural water repellent nature.
Kapok trees grow in rainforest areas and are some of the tallest trees in the rainforest (about 150 feet or more). Kapok trees live for about 60 years. Kapok is harvested by picking the pods/fruit from the kapok tree before they open and then sun drying the pods so they open on their own and the kapok can be scooped out.
Kapok is used for a filling in various products including pillows, toppers, mattresses, sleeping bags, and at one time it was used for filling life preservers. We use kapok as a fill for our kapok Pillows. Kapok gives a very soft plush feel to anything it fills because of its light weight and buoyancy. It also does not overheat like synthetics can. When filled in a non-zip item, kapok filled bedding can have the possibility of being able to be machine washed and dried.
Here is a picture of our Kapok Pillow:
(Copyright to PureRest Organics where this picture was sourced from.)
Using kapok for filling is an ecological/environmental friendly choice because it helps to give purpose to the Kapok trees in a way that is non-harmful and maintains preservation of the trees (which often otherwise would be cut down for lumber).
Due to the kapok tree’s large size and the sturdy nature of the kapok tree it is incredibly low maintenance to no maintenance in regards to care for the tree itself or for preparation of harvesting Kapok. This makes Kapok a natural fiber which does not need pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, or other treatments applied to it.
I hope this has explained kapok thoroughly. Please let me know if you have any inquiries or further questions about kapok or kapok trees. Lastly, please feel free to post in the comments your ideas for the next blog post!
Sources for the information provided:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceiba_pentandra (for the picture)
If interested in Kapok Pillows for purchase, here is a link to our Kapok Pillows: