A fast growing tree that can reach up to 50 m in height. Trunk is massive, covered in thorns, heavily buttressed. Crown is made up of branches that are arranged in a tiered fashion, resembling a pagoda. A deciduous tree, it sheds its leaves before flowering and fruiting in response to drought. Flowers are cream coloured, milky scented. Fruits are large hanging pods that split open when ripe to release white fibre to which tiny black seeds are attached. The fibre is buoyant and water-resistant and was used in the past to stuff life-jackets, pillows and mattresses.
This Tree was planted around 1970 when the Toa Payoh satellite town and the flyover were built. It now stands as a living landmark for commuters. The Kapok is the National Tree of Puerto Rico. This Heritage Kapok had a girth of 5.5 m when measured in Year 2001.