The Milo tree is a small to medium-sized tree growing to less than 40 feet high. The trunk can be 2 feet in diameter at full maturity. The bark is corrugated, with scaly twigs. The branches are widely spread and usually horizontal, making for an ideal shade tree. The glossy heart-shaped leaves are 3-5 inches across. Young leaves are edible.
Bell-shaped pale yellow flowers with maroon or purple centers turn purplish-pink as they with in their short one day hibiscus life. Following the flowering stage, the one-inch diameter seeds grow in globular 5-celled woody cases that have downy hairs on their surface. These hairs remain on the plant for sometime and the cases ripen only in areas of dry climate. The leathery seed capsules of Thespesia populnea are spherical and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The grayish brown seeds are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. The capsules generally open at maturity releasing about eight seeds. The capsules can also be opened by hand and the seeds removed.