On the hills the baobab and hyphaene palm are characteristic; on the plateau are stretches of open savanna, and park-like country with clumps of silk cotton and shea-butter trees.
The chief of these silk cottons is kapok, consisting of the hairs borne on the interior of the pods (but not attached to the seeds) of Eriodendron anfractuosum, the silk cotton tree, a member of the Bombacaceae, an order very closely allied to the Malvaceae.
The beautiful ceiba (Bombax ceiba L., Ceiba pentandra) or silk cotton tree is the giant of the Cuban forests; it often grows to a height of 100 to 150 ft.
The largest of the Amazon forest trees are the massaranduba (Mimusops data), called the cow-tree because of its milky sap, the samadma (Eriodendron samauma) or silk-cotton tree, the pdu d'arco (Tecoma speciosa), pdu d'alho (Catraeva tapia), bacori (Symphonea coccinea), sapucaia (Lecythis ollaria), and castanheira or brazil-nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa).
Among other forest trees of economic importance are the silk-cotton tree (Bombax ceiba), the Palo de vaca, or cow-tree (Brosimum galactodendron), whose sap resembles milk and is used for that purpose, the Inga saman, the Hevea guayanensis, celebrated in the production of rubber, and the Altalea speciosa, distinguished for the length of its leaves.