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What is Kapok Tree ( Kapok Wood )

Navigasi - Randu wood or sometimes we know it as kapok wood is wood that comes from the Ceiba pentandra tree. In Indonesia, this plant is known as the randu tree and is often found in various regions.

What is Kapok Tree ( Kapok Wood )
What is Kapok Tree ( Kapok Wood )


The main benefit of this plant is its wood which is often used as building formwork, as well as dried kapok fruit fiber for stuffing mattresses, pillows and bolsters.

This tree, which originates from the tropical region of America, is widely cultivated by Indonesian people because it suits the Indonesian climate. Randu trees are also industrial plants which are quite popular.

The kapok tree comes from the northern part of South America, the Caribbean, and also Central America. Apart from using the name 'randu', this tree is also commonly known as the kapok tree. The term 'kapuk' is also used to refer to the fiber produced by randu fruit.

Although originating from the American mainland, the tree has spread to various other continents, including Africa and Asia. In Indonesia, randu is one of the industrial plantation forest commodities. Several other Asian countries that are the habitat of opium, namely Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

Habitats



The natural habitat of the cotton plant is in the tropical region of the Americas. The soil medium suitable for its growth is flat contoured soil with a good drainage system. This tree requires a lot of water in the early stages of growth, especially rainwater.

On the other hand, when it enters the flowering and fruiting stage, this tree does not really need water and tends to be suitable for dry weather.

Cotton trees can grow well on land which is at a maximum altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level and has moderate to high humidity. In addition, this tree is also vulnerable to strong winds because it can grow very high.

Morphology


Randu or kapok trees are a group of tall and large-stemmed plants. The height of the stems ranges from 8 meters to 30 meters with a diameter of up to 3 meters. The bark of the randu stem has a thorny texture with a conical shape.

At the base of the tree trunk there is a small protrusion. The color of the bark of the kapok tree tends to be gray. This tree is a type of plant with extensive branches and the direction of growth of its branches is almost horizontal.

The leaves of the randu tree are leaves with finger bones that grow on tree stalks. Each stalk is overgrown with several tree leaves. The number of leaflets for each tree ranges from 5 to 9 leaves with a length of up to 15 cm.

Usually this plant will shed its leaves periodically. The number of leaves that fall varies greatly, namely the whole or only a part. Therefore, at certain times it is not uncommon for trees to be found without leaves at all.

Kapok plants have flowers that are white or reddish pink with a relatively small size. The flowers grow in clusters on tree stalks and usually the area of the stalk that is overgrown reaches 20 cm.

In addition to flowers, the randu tree also has fruit that is capsule-shaped and tapered at the tip of the base of the fruit. The length of the fruit is about 10 cm to 30 cm. When the fruit is ripe or old, the color of the fruit will turn brown. Inside the fruit of the cotton tree there are seeds and fibers called kapok or cotton.

Black randu seeds are wrapped in cotton fibers. Generally, the color of kapok fiber is white, but some are gray or light yellow. When the randu fruit ripens the tree, the fruit naturally breaks and causes the seeds and cotton fiber to fall from the tree.

Rarity Status


Based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, kapok or kapok trees are classified as Least Concern status plants. That is, this flora has a low risk of facing extinction.

The population of kapok trees is quite large because this plant is widely cultivated and has a fairly good breeding method.

Randu wood


Kapok or randu wood is a type of wood that is quite popular in Indonesian society. This wood is almost always used and is a mandatory material when someone builds a house. Its function is for formwork or retaining castings.

The use of randu boards was chosen because the casting process did not require high quality wood, the main consideration used was cheap wood. The price for randu wood in hardware stores is around IDR 4,000 to IDR 7,000 per board or in US dollars for $0.45. Formwork from kapok wood is generally used once.

Randu wood is a type of wood of low quality and easily rots when exposed to water or moist air. Randu wood is also easily deformed, broken, and attacked by fungi and termites. Wood from kapok trees is included in the type of wood with a level of durability class V, which is easily weathered or porous.

Besides being useful for light construction, randu wood is also a raw material for plywood or pulp in the paper industry. Meanwhile, the use of cottonwood for furniture is highly discouraged because this wood has a low density and is too soft.

Benefits of Randu Tree


Not only the wood and kapok fiber are useful, there are various other benefits that the kapok tree has, including for the treatment of diseases and the fulfillment of industrial raw materials. Unfortunately, currently the traditional use of kapok trees is slowly being eroded by technological developments.

1. Industrial Materials


The fruit fiber produced by the kapok tree is quite unique and has a high beneficial value. A fiber known as kapok is widely used by entrepreneurs in the industrial sector, especially the spinning and furniture industries, and even the electronics industry.

In the spinning industry, kapok fiber is usually used as raw material for making yarn. Meanwhile, in the furniture industry, cotton fiber is used as a stuffing material for filling pillows, mattresses, mattresses and chair upholstery. Whereas in the electronics industry, cotton fiber is used as a heat insulator and also a sound absorber.

2. Treatment


The part of the kapok tree that is useful for medicinal purposes is the leaves. There are so many diseases that can be treated by using the main ingredients of randu leaves, ranging from mild ailments to several types of serious illnesses.

Some of them are heartburn, disorders of the mouth such as canker sores and infections, accelerates healing of scars, treats coughs and expels phlegm, and can help nourish the eyes.

Meanwhile, severe diseases that can be treated with randu leaves include hemorrhoids or hemorrhoids, indigestion or diarrhea, dysentery, and can help treat chronic ulcers.

Caffeine Cultivation


The purpose of randu cultivation is generally motivated by the economic value it produces. The following are the stages and methods of planting randu that we can follow, namely:

1. Nurseries


Candu seeds can be obtained from seeds or cuttings. Propagation by seed begins with the nursery stage. The most important thing in making randu is working the land. The surface of the bed must be flat and have a good drainage system.

The spacing of the beds was made 20 cm x 20 cm using 3 seeds in each hole and then waiting for 1 month. After that, the best seedling results can be left. In addition to this method, another method is to spread the seeds in a tub which is then transferred to the beds. Candu plants can be moved to a wider area if they are one year old or 1 meter high.

The grafting technique or cuttings of cottonwood trees usually use Togo B as the rootstock. The advantage is that the connection between the lower and upper stems (buds) does not appear in lumps like seedlings from seeds. In addition, the superior characteristics of the mother plant will decrease to the grafted plants.

2. Planting


A good spacing of kapok trees can adjust the type of kapok to be planted. Generally the spacing is made between 8 x 8 m to 10 x 10 m. However, so that the branching of the plants does not interfere with each other, sometimes the spacing is made 15 x 15 m.

3. Intercrops


Candu plantations can be planted with seasonal or annual crops so that the potential of the land can be maximized. Based on research, kapok trees are very suitable to be combined with cocoa plants.

Cacao serves as an undergrowth and kapok as a cover crop. The conditions for growing randu and cocoa include relatively the same soil and climate. It is not uncommon for randu plants to be combined with robusta coffee plants.

4. Maintenance


The randu tree is a type of plant that requires minimal maintenance. Pruning the branches of the tree is only done for dead branches. Fertilization can be done twice a year, namely at the beginning and end of the rainy season.

Randu aged 1 to 5 years is usually given 1 kg of urea and 0.5 kg of SP36 and 0.5 kg of KCl for each tree. The older the kapok tree, the dose of fertilizer needs to be increased.

5. Disturbing Organisms


Randu is rarely disturbed by pests and diseases, except for parasites from the Loranthaceae family. This parasite originates from several types of parasitic fruit-eating birds that leave seeds on the stalks of the randu.

The Javanese randu species is a plant that is sensitive to parasites, while the Caribbean type has better resistance. To deal with parasites, trees must be cleaned effectively so that farmers do not experience crop failure.

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