The floss silk tree is large, reaching to 60 feet in height. It has large irregular horizontal branches, a moderate to dense crown of leaves and initially a conical shape, becoming a broadly spreading umbrella with age. The bulbous often swollen trunk has green bark, becoming gray with age, and is covered with blunt, warty, triangular spines, which are also on the branches. The leaves are light green, palmate compound with 5 - 7 leaflets, each lance-shaped and about 5 inches long. The leaves fall just before flowering. Flowers are pink, creamy white in the center and funnel-shaped; blooms are 4 - 6 inches in diameter and exceptionally showy. Butterflies and other insects are attracted to the flowers for pollination. The fruits are woody, ovoid pods, about 8 inches long, filled with fluffy dirty-white fibers and bean-sized black seeds. Outside the tropics, the tree seldom sets seeds. For propagation tip cuttings are used. The floss is a substitute for true kapok, which is from ceiba pentandra; the seeds yield an edible oil. In cultivation, floss silk tree needs well drained soils and regular watering for full flowering. Its unusual trunk and branches, attractive leaves and spectacular flowers makes this an ideal choice as a specimen plant for public open spaces, large gardens, conservatories and in planters, as well as in xerophytic gardens.