This is an erect, deciduous tree, 15 m high. The trunk is cylindric, usually bearing scattered, large spines. The branches are in distant whorls, and spread horizontally. The leaves are compound with 5-8 lanceolate leaflets, 6-15 cm long, pointed on both ends. The flowers are numerous, whitish, 3 cm long. The capsules which are pendulous, oblong, about 15 cm long and 5 cm thick contain numerous black seeds, compressed globose, smooth and embedded in fine silky hairs. Wood. The wood is creamy white, streaked with yellow, brown, pink, and/or grey, but discoloration due to fungal attack is extremely common; the heartwood is not clearly demarcated from the sapwood. The grain is interlocked, sometimes irregular, the texture coarse. Growth rings are prominent.
Distribution: Kapok is widely planted in settled areas throughout the Philippines. It is possibly indigenous to tropical America.