eiba pentandra is a tropical tree of the order Malvales and the family Malvaceae (previously separated in the family Bombacaceae), native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South America, and (as the variety C. pentandra var. guineensis) to tropical west Africa. Kapok is the most used common name for the tree and may also refer to the cotton-like fluff obtained from its seed pods. The tree is cultivated for the seed fibre, particularly in south-east Asia, and is also known as the Java cotton, Java kapok, silk-cotton, Samauma, or ceiba.
The tree grows to 70 m (230 ft) with a trunk up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in diameter with buttresses. The trunk and many of the larger branches are often crowded with large simple thorns. The palmate leaves are composed of 5 to 9 leaflets, each up to 20 cm (7.9 in) long.