A fast-growing tree that can reach up to 50 m in height, its trunk is massive, often covered in thorns and heavily buttressed. The tree’s 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. Its flowers are cream coloured and milky scented while its 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 to stuff life-jackets, pillows and mattresses.
The Kapok is the National Tree of Puerto Rico.
This Heritage Kapok had a girth of 5.5 m when measured in 2015.