Pseudobombax ellipticum
Common Name: shaving-brush tree 
Type: Tree
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Caribbean, Central America, Mexico
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 20.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 55.00 feet
Bloom Time: January to April
Bloom Description: Pink or white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in evenly moist, humusy, well-draining soils in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soil types including poor, rocky soils and drier conditions. Summer irrigation will encourage more vigorous growth and better flowering. Hardy in Zones 9b (25°F) to 12.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pseudobombax ellipticum, commonly called shaving-brush tree, is a small to medium sized, deciduous flowering tree native to open forests and hillsides in Central America from southern Mexico to Honduras. It is found in cultivation throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. The palmately compound leaves are made up of five elliptic leaflets (up to 1" long and 7" wide). The leaves fall off during the winter dry season. Large, fragrant flowers with numerous pink or white stamens bloom on the blunt twig ends while the trees are bare. Mature trees can reach up to 60' tall in the wild but are typically much shorter in cultivation (20-40'). Their form is stout and wide, with a large trunk reaching up to 4' across and an open, irregular canopy.

Genus name means false bombax.

The specific epithet ellipticum means "elliptical", in reference to the shape of the leaflets.

The common name shaving-brush tree refers to the flower shape of this plant.


No pests or diseases of note.


Useful as a specimen flowering tree or shade tree. Suitable for use as a bonsai.