Stems solitary, erect, to 20 m tall, 10-20 cm in diam., gray with conspicuous nodes. Leaf sheaths closed and forming green, slightly swollen crownshafts to 1 m; petioles no more than 5 cm; rachis recurved, to 2 m; pinnae 20-30 per side of rachis, regularly and closely arranged, stiffly erect; middle pinnae 30-60 cm, 3-7 cm wide at mid-point. Inflorescences infrafoliar, branched to 3 orders, erect; rachillae many, flexuose, yellowish green, to 25 cm; male flowers solitary, alternate and distichous on rachillae; stamens 6; female flowers at bases of rachillae only, larger than male flowers. Fruits yellow, orange, or red, ovoid, to 8 × 6 cm.
Seed globose, flattened at basal end, ± 2 cm. in diameter; endosperm deeply and finely ruminate, the ruminations reddish brown when fresh.
Crown shaft to 1 m. or more in length, wider than the trunk, bearing a crown of 8–10 leaves. Leaf-sheath 60–80 cm. long, dark green; leaf to 2 m. long, with petiole to 15 cm. only; leaflets rich dark green, ± 15 on each side of the rachis, densely crowded, rather untidy, tending to droop somewhat at the tips, with 3 or more folds, often tattering at the tips in age, at the base 40–50 cm. long, in mid-leaf ± 70 cm. long, at the leaf tip 15–25 cm. long.
Young fruit green, ripening dirty yellow, orange or brick-red, ± 5 cm. long by 3.5 cm. wide.
Solitary palm; stem to 15 m. or more, slightly swollen near the base, to 25 cm. in diameter above, pale grey-brown below, rich dark green above in younger parts, with prominent leaf scars 15–20 cm. distant.
Female flower with 3 imbricate, triangular sepals ± 1 cm. long by 1.1 cm. wide at base; petals 3, imbricate, ± 1.4 cm. long by 0.9 cm. wide; ovary rounded, ± 8 mm. in diameter; stigmas fleshy, white, glistening at anthesis.
Inflorescence erect at first; prophyll thin, to 60 cm. long, 25 cm. wide, pale yellow-green when young and newly exposed, rapidly splitting, drying and falling; peduncle to 20 cm. long by 5 cm. wide; rachillae ± 30 cm. long, stiff, erect or spreading, pale creamy yellow, bearing ivory-white flowers along the lower side only.