Clustered moderate to robust palm climbing to 60 m. Stems ± circular in cross-section, without sheaths 12-20 mm, with 15-30 mm; internodes up to 30 cm long. Leaf sheath only very lightly striate, with sparse to moderate caducous black indumentum; ocrea drying brown and splitting longitudinally, sometimes with horizontal linear wrinkle opposite the leaf, extending to up to 8 cm; knee conspicuous, narrowly-linear, up to 5-12 cm long, tapering at base. Leaves sessile; rachis up to 2 m long, abaxially rounded, adaxially flattened or slightly concave on upper surface, becoming rounded then triangular in cross-section distally, armed along the margins with inequidistant, reflexed, bulbous-based, black-tipped spines, with sparse black indumentum below; cirrus up to 2 m long, armed as the rachis, although spines becoming sparse distally, indumentum absent; leaflets up to 20 on each side of the rachis, strictly rhomboid or trapezoid with conspicuously straight margins, broadly attenuate at the base, broadly and irregularly praemorse at apex, very variable in size 12-22 cm long by 8-17 cm broad at the widest point; concolorous, armed along the margins with 2 mm long, robust, slightly reflexed, black-tipped spines, praemorse apex somewhat ciliate spiny; with 5-9 main veins radiating from the base; acanthophylls 2-2.5 cm long, somewhat slender, at 30° angle to cirrus. Inflorescence glabrous, up to 80 cm long, peduncle up to 30 cm long; rachis up to 50 cm long, arching, rachis bracts incomplete, 1.5-2 cm long, decreasing distally, rachillae distichous, 10-12 on each side, 25-30 cm long, decreasing distally, adnate to the rachis for up to 2 cm, less so distally. Flowers borne in close pairs; calyx 2 mm long by 4 mm wide at the mouth, shallowly 3-lobed; corolla ca. 8 mm long by 3 mm wide divided to quarter of its length; stamens united into 3 mm long epipetalous ring, free filaments up to 0.5 mm; anthers up to 0.75 mm long; ovary 2mm by 1.5 mm tipped with 1 mm long style. Fruit at maturity ovoid to broadly cylindrical, 2.5-3.5 cm by 1.8-2.4 cm, with 15-19 vertical rows of scales. Seed compressed with, 1.8-2.8 cm long by 1.2-1.8 cm wide by ca. 1 cm deep, with somewhat undulating margins, flattened on one side or with a shallow depression, embryo lateral, raised, opposite the flattened side.
This species is a common component of gap vegetation and forest margins, although it is commonly present in the juvenile form in closed-canopy forest where it occurs.
Native to, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria
Distributed from SE Nigeria to Gabon and Congo, commonly in coastal forest, although with outliers present in the swamp forests of the Central African Republic.