Clustered moderate to robust palm climbing to 30 m. Stems often branching, circular in cross-section, without sheaths, 15-20 mm in diameter, with 20-30 mm; internodes 16-20 cm long, commonly less (10-12 cm). Leaf sheath longitudinally striate, sparsely to profusely covered with caducous black indumentum, or indumentum absent; ocrea entire, obliquely truncate, or with high rounded lobe adaxial to the rachis, often drying grey-brown; knee linear, 1.5-3 cm long, somewhat abrupt at base. Juvenile stems up to 15 m long; stem with sheath <1.5 cm in diameter; ocrea with linear wrinkle on adaxial side; petiole 8-10 cm long, armed along the margins with inequidistant, reflexed, bulbous-based black-tipped spines; leaves bifid, becoming pinnate, up to 20 cm long by 15 cm broad, deeply notched with rounded, somewhat rectangular lobes; cirrus up to 60 cm long, emerging from the centre; elaminate rachis up to 80 cm long. Leaves on mature stems sessile, up to 2.2 m long; rachis up to 1.5 m long, abaxially rounded adaxially concave, becoming rounded, rarely triangular, in cross section distally, armed as the petiole, although spines becoming more sparse distally, underside of rachis with sparse black caducous indumentum, absent distally; cirrus 50-70 cm long, armed as the rachis; leaflets up to 20 on each side, very variable in shape, obovate-elliptic, oblanceolate to almost rhomboid, bluntly contracted at base, finely to very broadly praemorse at apex, 12-22 cm long by 3.5-5.5 cm broad at the widest point, discolorous, adaxially dark green, abaxially mid-green, armed along the margins with inequidistant forward and (rarely) backward-facing black-tipped spines, c. 5-7 main veins radiating from the base; lowermost leaflets smaller than the rest, linear to ovoid, reflexed and laxly to tightly clasping sheath; acanthophylls 2-2.5 cm long. Inflorescence, glabrous, up to 40 cm long; peduncle 12-18 cm long; rachis 18-22 cm long, somewhat straight; rachis bracts 0.5-1.5 mm, bluntly triangular; rachillae distichous, 8-10 on each side, 8-12 cm long, decreasing distally, adnate to the inflorescence axis for 3-7 mm, with less than 1 mm rounded triangular bracts subtending each dyad. Flowers not known. Fruit at maturity, 1-2-seeded, ovoid to cylindrical, 2.5-3 cm by 1.5-1.7 cm, with 20-21 vertical rows of scales. Seed compressed, 2 cm long by 1.2 cm wide by 0.6 cm thick, flattened on one side, margins somewhat wavy; embryo lateral, raised, opposite flattened side.
Originaria, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria
This species has a distinct Guineo-Congolian distribution primarily in the northernmost part of the Congo Basin.