In Klaten, Central Java, kapok (Ceiba Pentandra) plantations seem nowhere to be found, but the plants still grow on their own across the town.
In the Dutch colonial era, kapok trees lined the streets of Klaten and the seed fiber or Java kapok were one of the commodities brought to Europe.
Kapok trees will generally grow up to 70 meters in height, though cultivated ones reach up to 30 m at the most. After five years, they will bear their first fruits.
Each fruit, with silky white fibers jutting out of them, contains around 200 seeds. When the fruits burst open, the seeds are blown by the wind and they spread naturally.
In Klaten, Java kapok is commonly used in mattresses and pillows. The fruits are first dried out and the fibers are taken out to be untangled. (wng)