One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A very tall tropical American tree from which kapok is obtained, with lightweight yellowish or pinkish timber. It is pollinated by bats and was held sacred by the Maya.
Ceiba pentandra, family BombacaceaeAlso called kapok
- ‘The book is about two taxa: the live oaks that dominate the coastal Louisiana landscape and the ceibas, the signature tree of the Guatemalan lowlands.’
- ‘Just before he falls asleep he remembers a vast expanse of sugar cane, he remembers the still air, the sun beating down on the red earth and far off in the distance a ceiba tree that was haunted by the spirits of murdered slaves.’
- ‘The tree most often used for these rituals is the ceiba, known as nkunia nsambi, the branch of god (nsambi).’
- ‘The rusting set of free weights is scattered under a ceiba tree.’
- ‘Except for two years with the Cuban army in Angola, he has spent his life here, exploring every ceiba tree of the Caribbean's largest wetland.’
Via Spanish from Taino, literally ‘giant tree’.
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