The kapok (Ceiba pentandra), also called the silk-cotton tree or samauma, is a species of tree in the family Malvaceae native to Latin America; a sub-population is known in West Africa. It has also been introduced to Southeast Asia. Its English name actually comes from a Malay name for a completely different tree, the Malabar silk-cotton, which is also sometimes called the kapok. In Spanish-speaking countries which include most of its native range, it is called the ceiba, from which its genus name is derived. It is cultivated for its seed pods, which yield a cotton-like fluff. Although this fiber is difficult to spin, it is extremely useful and has been harvested by people living in the tree’s habitat for thousands of years. This tree is easily identifiable even when not laden with seed pods due to the large, simple thorns that adorn the trunk and larger branches.