An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. 124 Flowers and fruit by Berkeley Fitzhardinge
  2. 124_0 Flower and buds by Craig Nieminski
  3. 124_1 Open fruit drops seeds photo by Craig Nieminski


Cochlospermum fraseri


  • Deciduous shrub or tree.
  • Size: 1 – 6 m high.
  • Leaves: Large lobed leaves.
  • Flowers: Bright yellow with 5 petals.
  • Fruit: After the yellow flowers are pollinated, large, globular, green, papery fruit develop. The fruit capsules are egg shaped and 6 – 10cm long.  They eventually turn brown and split along the seams to release their seed.  The small black seeds are woven in a dense mat of fine silky hairs.

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower
  • Full flowering (record all days)
  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
  • First fully open leaf
  • Leaves open (record all days)
  • First leaf to change colour
  • Leaves changing colour (record all days)
  • First leaf to drop this year
  • 50% or more of leaves dropped (record all days)
  • No leaves (record all days)
  • Fruit fully ripened / turned brown (record all days)
  • Open seed pods / fruit (record all days)
  • Seeds dropped to the ground (record all days)

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect plants to start shooting and flowering earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas, as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.

When To Look

  •  March to August for flowering

Where To Look

  • Kimberley region of Western Australia, and commonly sighted in Kakadu National Park in Northern Territory.
  • In a variety of drier habitats.

Kapok Occurrence Map ALA


  1. Search Species

  1. What Else?

    C. fraseriis distinguished from C. gregorii (also from NT and Qld) in that it has leaves divided to the base rather than shallowly to lobed, while C. gillivraei has more deeply lobed palmate leaves. C. gillivraei occurs further east, in eastern NT and Queensland

  1. Did You Know?

    Kapok is one of a group of tropical plants that flowers when leafless – making the brilliant yellow flowers all the more impressive

    The cottony hairs around the seeds of a South American relative (Ceiba) – similar to those of Cochlospermum - are used for pillows and mattress stuffing