Plant normal, suckering close to parent plant 10-30 cm, to 8 suckers, position vertical; mature pseudostem to 4.5 m high, to 15 cm diam. at base, covered with varying amounts of dead brown leaf sheaths, underlying colour green with large black blotches, shiny, sap milky. Petiole to 50 cm, petiole canal wide with erect margins, petiole bases not winged and clasping the pseudostem with corrugated auricles and sparse black-purple blotches; leaf habit intermediate, lamina to 290 x 55 cm, narrowly elliptic, truncate at apex, medium green adaxially, light green abaxially, appearance shiny, surface sparsely covered with wax coating, leaf bases asymmetric, both sides rounded and auriculate, midrib dorsally and ventrally light green, with very corrugated lamina. Inflorescence semi-pendulous and then falling vertically downward, peduncle to 40 cm, to 5.5 cm diam., densely puberulent with short hairs, dark green, sterile bracts 2, bracts deciduous at opening of first female flowers. Female bud lanceolate, to 22 x 8 cm, bracts red-purple with paler pinkish lines externally, bright yellow internally, without wax, not imbricate, lifting several bracts at a time, these revolute before falling; basal flowers female, ca. 11 cm, ovary pale yellow, arrangement of ovules in 4 rows per locule, compound tepal ca. 4.8 cm, with 2 prominent thickened keels and hyaline margins, bright yellow, free tepal ca. 3 cm, rounded, translucent white with thickened keel; stamens 5, without fertile pollen, ca. 4 cm, yellow, stigma diam. ca. 0.8 cm, white. Male bud ovoid, ca. 18 x 8 cm, bracts dark red-purple externally, bright yellow internally, with sparse wax outside, not imbricate, lifting one bract at a time, these revolute before falling, soon deciduous; male flowers on average 15 per bract in 2 rows, falling with the bract, compound tepal ca. 5.5 cm, yellow to orange with 2 thickened keels, ribbed at the dorsal angles, with 5-toothed orange apex, central lobes smaller than outer lobes, free tepal ca. 2 cm, translucent white, ovoid, smooth, with thread-like apex, stamens 5, filaments white, anthers yellow to orange, anthers and style exserted; stigma cream; ovary arched, light green. Fruit bunch lax, with 5 hands and 15 fruits per hand on average, in 2 rows, fingers curved toward the stalk, individual fruit ca. 8 cm, slightly curved, rounded, pedicel ca. 4 cm, glabrous, fruit apex blunt-tipped, with no floral relicts, immature fruit peel green to purple, pedicel and apex medium green, remaining green to purple at maturity, immature fruit pulp white, becoming cream to brown and soft at maturity; seeds wrinkled, ca. 5 mm diam., 200 to 220 seeds per fruit.
It can withstand seasonal frost and snow, which it faces each winter from December to January in northern parts of its growing region. There frost kills the leaves, leaving the pseudostem alive from which new leaves rapidly emerge in the spring. This delays flowering to July to September.
Variety guangdongensis occurs in the northern part of Guangdong Province in temperate regions at elevations from 300 to 1600 m, along roadsides, ravines, and on steep slopes.