The generic name means false bombax, owing to its resemblance to the true bombax (kapok) tree, ceiba pentandra. The shaving brush tree can reach a height of about 50 feet in nature; it is low branching and typically swollen at the base. The trunk is succulent with smooth, green to gray bark. Branching is highly irregular and as a result the crown is open and of varied shape. Leaves have long stems, are palamately compound with 5 leaflets, each up to 6 inches long. New leaves are a burgundy color. After leaf fall, flowers appear. Flowers have long stems, with individual white to pink blooms 1/2 - 1 inch wide with a group of brush-likestamens. Fruits are elongated capsules containing numerous seeds, which are wind dispersed. The tree is propagated from seed or cuttings. Seeds are toasted and eaten; leaves and bark used in traditional medicine. The wood is used to carve dishes or for fuelwood. The fibers in the fruit are used for stuffing pillows and mattresses. Cultivated in good soil with regular watering, the tree will grow large; if potted and pruned it can be maintained to a height of about 3 feet. The shaving brush tree in an attractive and interesting specimen or accent tree in large gardens and parks and it provides good shade, and can be grown indoors. It can also be grown in a xerophytic garden.