Malabar chestnut trees have shiny green palmate leaves with long lanceolate leaflets and a smooth bark that is often green and ages to a shiny brown. Its showy flowers have long, narrow cream-colored buds that open like a banana peel to expose their yellow-orange stamens.
The edible nuts of the tree grow in a woody pod that ranges in size from around 5 to nearly 12 inches long. The nutritious nuts inside are about the size and shape of a cashew. They are light brown, striped with white and have a flavor similar to peanuts when eaten raw. They can also be cooked or ground into flour. In addition to the nuts, the leaves and flowers are also edible.