Trunk usually short and stout, may attain a height of 13 m, profusely ringed; lower portion smooth, upper portion is surrounded by remains of petioles and reticulate fibrous network. Leaves flabellate, 1-1.75 m across, plicate, central part large ovate, divided into 60-90 segments about the middle; segments linear-lanceolate, acuminate, smooth, pendulous; apex deeply forked for c. 30 cm. Petiole large, 60-100 cm or more in length, slender, green, glabrous, plano-convex; margin spiny only on the lower portion or rarely lacking spines; spines small, green, pointed downward. Inflorescence light yellow when young and then becomes green with unpleasant odour, repeatedly branched, bracts many, tubular, sheathing the peduncle and branches. Flowers small, sessile in groups of 2-4 flowers. Petals c. 3 x 2 mm, joined at base. Sepals imbricate. Fruit oval, 1.9 x 1.1 cm, bluish-green, heavily packed on the fruiting spikes.