Large trees. Inflorescences cauliflorous and ramiflorous racemes. Flowers zygomorphic. Sepals 6. Fruits large, round, indehiscent, 12-20 cm diam.; Seeds ovate, not angled;
This genus has three Neotropical species, one of which, Couroupita guianensis, the Cannon ball tree, has been widely distributed in botanic gardens and parks for its ornamental flowers and curious cauliflorous fruits. This species is easily recognized by the large round fruits of 10-15 cm diam. borne on the branches and trunk. The androecium, bearing numerous sterile stamens, has a more open hood than that of Bertholletia and it is also over the ring of fertile stamens. The leaves of this species are grouped at the ends of the branches in a similar way to many species of Barringtonia.