Negligence by authorities in Tepic, Nayarit, has been blamed for the loss of a ceiba, or kapok, tree said to be 180 years old.
A tree that was sacred in prehispanic traditions, the ceiba was situated in the middle of an avenue of the city, and suffered damage to its roots during road construction work. Authorities had considered removing the tree and all the vegetation in the area but locals intervened to save the tree.
An agreement was reached to carry out efforts to keep the tree healthy and watered, but the work was never done. An agronomist explained that the tree fought for five years to survive but didn’t make it.
One of the oldest known kapoks is 200 years old and located in Florida. They grow to 60-70 m tall and have a large trunk — up to 3 m in diameter. They produce seeds surrounded by a fluffy, cotton-like fibre. The fibre was used for life jackets until synthetic materials came along.