Fruit to 8 cm. long, smooth, greenish-yellow.
Male flowers: calyx ± entire, up to 4·5 mm. long and 4 mm. in diameter; corolla cream, tube to 2·5 cm. long and 4 mm. wide, with lanceolate lobes up to 1·5 cm. long; anthers to c. 5 mm. long; filaments of oppositisepalous stamens to 6 mm. long, of oppositipetalous ones to 3 mm. long, the staminal ring c. 2 mm. in height.
Female flowers: calyx up to 5 mm. long and 1 cm. in diameter; petals up to 3 × 1 cm., pale greenish abaxially and cream-coloured adaxially, oblong-acute; ovary up to 1·5 × 1 cm.; stigmas to 1·3 cm. long.
Leaves clustered at the top of the trunk and at branch ends, long-petiolate, glabrous; petioles up to 45 cm., hollow, striate; laminas up to 35 cm. in diameter, ± orbicular in outline, strongly cordate at base, shallowly to deeply palmately 3–5-lobed, the lobes broadly ovate-cuspidate, entire or with subsidiary lobes; young leaves conspicuously mottled with pale yellow or pink veins.
Inflorescences axillary, farinose; male up to 40 cm. long, many-flowered, paniculate, with slender branches; female up to 3·5 cm. long, 1–5-flowered, racemose with stout axis.
A fast-growing tree up to 35 m. high with soft white wood and smooth grey bark; trunk simple or sparsely branched at the apex, hollow; upper part of trunk and branches armed with straight conical prickles up to 2·5 cm. long.
Female flowers : calyx to 5 mm. long and 1 cm. in diameter; corolla-lobes pale greenish externally, cream internally, to 3.0 cm. long, 1 cm. wide; androecium entirely absent; ovary 5-angled, to 1.5 cm. long, 1 cm. in diameter, glabrous; style to 3 mm. long; stigmas to 1.3 cm. long, densely beset with short papillose hairs.
Fruit a greenish-yellow, smooth, 5-angled berry, to 8 cm. long, closely resembling a small papaw; seeds to 7 mm. long, with acute apex.
Inflorescences axillary; ♂ paniculate, many-flowered with rhachis to 40 cm. long, ± farinose and flowers sessile; ♀ shortly racemose, bearing 1–5 flowers with rhachis thick and woody, to 3.5 cm. long, and pedicels short and stout, to 5 mm. long.
Male flowers : calyx to 4.5 mm. long, 4 mm. diam., lobes ± obsolete; corolla cream; tube to 2.5 cm. long and 4 mm. in diameter; lobes lanceolate, to 1.5 cm. long and 4 mm. wide; filaments of episepalous stamens to 6 mm. long, of epipetalous to 3 mm. long, all connate at base into a ± 2-mm. long tube; anthers linear-lanceolate; rudimentary ovary and style present.
A rapid-growing and short-lived medium to tall tree, height to 35 m.; trunk simple with very few branches, hollow, exuding copious white latex when cut; upper part of trunk and branches armed with short straight prickles; old bark becoming ± smooth and dark greenish-grey in colour.
Leaves clustered at branch tips; petioles to 45 cm. long, glabrous, terete; lamina broadly ovate to suborbicular in outline, to 25 cm. long, 35 cm. wide, palmately divided into 3–5 lobes but the terminal lobe sometimes deeply incised with a tendency to a 7-lobed condition, ± glabrous, main nerves 5–7, pinkish to pale yellow in colour, giving a very decorative appearance to young plants; lobes ± ovate or rhomboidal, ranging from ± same length as the undivided portion to four times as long; leaf-margin entire or lobulate.