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Cochlospermum fraseri, often called the Yellow Kapok, is a deciduous shrub or small three that occurs on rocky hillsides of clay and sandstone soils. It has been used to restore landscapes at the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia operated by Rio Tinto Mining.

It can reach a height of 6 meters and loses its leaves in the dry season before flowering. The loose racemens of yellow flowers (60 - 80 mm in diameter) are followed by egg-shaped green capsules (55 - 90 mm long) containing kidney shaped seeds. These seeds are woven in a dense mat of silky hairs that are released as the capsule dries and splits.

The flowers can be eaten raw and are a good source of Vitamin C. The silky hairs (kapok) have been used to stuff pillows, sleeping bags, and life preservers. It is regarded as a 'calendar plant' by aborigines as it flowers at the time crocodiles lay their eggs.

The illustration was created by NORTH DOWNS BOTANICAL ARTIST Gill Cann based on a herbarium specimen provided by Kew Gardens supplemented by modern imagery. This illustration is part of the PLANTS THAT RESTORE collection housed at Kew Gardens.

Click on image for more detail.