The tree crown is wide, with irregular, stratified ramification and only a few thick branches. The bark can be grey to brown, in varying darkness and may be vertically fissured. Leaves are compound, digitate and deciduous. Each leaf has five leaflets of variable size, the middle one being the largest. Flowering occurs mainly in January and February, and is generally associated with dry periods; although flowering has also been observed in August, September, April and May.
Flowers are large, in various tones of pink to purple, and appear while the tree has none, or very few, leaves. Pollination occurs probably by insects, although the flowers are visited by many birds such as tanagers, hummingbirds and orioles. The long and slender fruit capsules can measure up to 35 cm (14 in) and appear from February through April.
After the drying fruit dehisces, the anemochorous, hyaline-membrane-winged seeds are released. There is an average of 45,000 seeds per kg with up to 13% water content. Germination of seeds is extremely easy and efficient, reaching almost 100%. It is a fairly fast-growing tree.