Clustered moderate palm climbing to 50 m, more commonly 20-30 m. Stems ± circular in cross-section, without sheaths 10-15 mm in diameter, with to 25 mm; internodes 10-15 cm long. Leaf sheath longitudinally striate, sparsely to moderately armed with black caducous indumentum, particularly concentrated on the apex of the sheath; ocrea entire, somewhat saddle-shaped, with 1-1.5 cm rounded lobe adaxial to the leaf; knee narrow, linear, abrupt, up to 2.5 cm long. Leaves sessile, up to 1.5-2 m long; rachis up to 1 m long, abaxially rounded, adaxially flattened or slightly convex, becoming trapezoid then rounded in cross-section distally, with sparse to moderate black caducous indumentum below, armed along the margins with inequidistant reflexed, bulbous-based, black-tipped spines, becoming more sparsely armed distally; cirrus up to 1 m long, armed as the rachis proximally, becoming unarmed distally; leaflets up to 8-10 on each side of the rachis, obovate to trapeziform, narrowly contracted at the base, irregularly and broadly praemorse at apex, 7-16 cm long by 4-9 cm broad at the widest point, concolorous, somewhat coriaceous, with 8 or more main veins radiating from base, armed along the margins with stout forward and (rarely) reverse-facing angular spines, praemorse apex somewhat ciliate-spiny; lowermost leaflets smaller than the rest, erect or reflexed and laxly swept back across the sheath; acanthophylls up to 3.5 cm long, very fine, slender. Inflorescence with profuse, soft, velvety, papillose covering, up to 40 cm long, arching, rarely straight; peduncle up to 20 cm long; rachis 18-28 cm long, rachis bracts 1.5-2 cm, finely acuminate; rachillae distichous, 10-12 on each side, up to 10 cm long, decreasing distally, rarely straight, often arching, adnate to the inflorescence for 10 mm, decreasing distally. Flowers borne in close pairs, with less than 1 mm long incomplete bracts subtending each dyad; calyx 2-3 mm long by 4 mm wide at the mouth, with 3 distinct rounded lobes; corolla ± 1 cm long by 3 mm wide, divided to a third of its length; stamens united into 4 mm long epipetalous ring, free filaments less than 0.5 mm long; anthers less than 1 mm long; ovary 3 mm by 2 mm tipped with c.2 mm long style. Fruit at maturity, 1-seeded cylindrical to rhomboid, 2.5-3 cm long by 16-19 mm wide with 20-24 vertical rows of scales. Seed 2 cm long by 1.6-1.7 cm wide by 0.8 cm thick, flattened on one side with a shallow depression; embryo lateral, raised opposite flattened side.
Originaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Restricted to Gabon, southwards to Angola and across to the lowland forests of the wider Congo basin. This species is reported to be relatively common where it occurs.