A genus of some 10 or more species of large trees found in tropical areas of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, West Africa and Southeast Asia. Some species can grow to 70 m (230 ft) tall or more, with a straight, largely branchless trunk that culminates in a huge, spreading canopy, and buttress roots. The best-known, and most widely cultivated species is Kapok, Ceiba pentandra, one of several trees called kapok. The leaves are alternate and palmately compound, with 5-8 leaflets. The radially symmetrical flowers can be rather small and inconspicuous to large and showy. They are usually white, pinkish-white or red, and leathery. The flowers have 5 stamens fused into a tube at the base. The fruit are large ellipsoid capsules up to 20 cm long which split open to reveal abundant cottony fibers
Some botanical authorities have incorporated the genus Chorisia within Ceiba, for example Chorisia speciosa to Ceiba speciosa.
Ceiba: possibly a Latinized version (SAY-buh) of the South American name for the Sabre or Kapok tree.