This medium-sized tree grows up to 25 m tall. Its cylindrical trunk is often swollen near the base.
Its persistent, compound leaves are alternate and digitate, with 5 to 9 large leaflets up to 30 cm long.
Its flowers, usually solitary, have 5 large white, green or yellow petals up to 35 cm long. Their stamens are remarkable for their length, their number (200 to 360) and their colour (purple tips, with a red anther (the part containing the pollen)). The stamen filaments are fused at the base, forming a tube surrounding the pistil. The flower is fragrant.
The fruit of this tree is a large woody brown pod. It is shaped like a 15 to 30 cm long balloon, opening into 5 valves to release 10 to 15 large angular seeds 3 to 4 cm in length.