Introduction. The red kapok tree, Bombax costatum is a tree species native to West Africa. Most of its organs or plant parts are of medicinal, food, and economic importance.Literature. The species is widely used for food and medicinal purposes and as timber. Yet B. costatum is poorly studied and declining across its distribution range. So far, little has been achieved on this species’conservation status, genetic diversity, breeding and domestication. With the aim of synthesizing current knowledge and gaps, and suggesting future research, articles were searched in Google Scholar and Web of Science databases with relevant keywords on B. costatum. All articles found were critically read and analyzed for inclusion in the present review. Conclusions. The current state of knowledge on taxonomy, distribution, ecology, botanical description, structural characteristics, uses, nutritional and phytochemical properties, socioeconomic importance, propagation, growth and development, threats and conservation of B. costatum have been reviewed. Knowledge gaps were identified and research and development avenues were suggested and discussed for conservation of this species.