Giant milkweed/French cotton (Calotropis procera)
Papiamento name: katuna di seda
This is a conspicuous plant (originally from the Sahel, Africa) encountered in open spaces where the original vegetation has been cut down. It is especially numerous at roadsides, deserted construction sites and localities where they have 'cleaned' the bush, i.e. bulldozed every living thing away. It may grow to a tall bush with long, straight stems and large oval round leaves of a grayish green color. The stem and the undersides of the leaves are covered with small hairs. The plant contains a milky sap which sticks to the skin but does not have any harmful effects. Of course, one should not drink it! The caterpillar of the Monarch butterfly is one of the few animals eating the leaves of the French cotton. Its rather small flowers are white and purple and grow in the axils of the leaves. The seedpods are greatly inflated and contain seeds with silk-like fluff (the 'cotton') which burst open and disperse the seeds by the wind.
Photo credit: Christian König (SHAPE/DCNA)
Dutch CaribbeanArubaParke Nacional ArikokArikok National ParkArroyo Prinsbiodiversityplantgiant milkweedFrench cottonCalotropis procerakatuna di sedaflowerSHAPE
From Aruba Shape