It usually has single trunk, up to 7 m tall, but sometimes there are a few.
The dark green, erect then arching leaves are up to 3 m long and once divided.
The new leaflets are a reddish-brown colour.
Leaflets are arranged alternately and arise from the centre of the upper surface of the midrib.
The usually solitary male and female cones are not on stalks.
Male cones, when mature and distended, can be up to 1 m high.
The spiral arrangement of the microsporophylls is very obvious when mature cones are splitting.
The female cones are up to 60 cm long and 25 cm wide and produce red (rarely yellow) seeds that are up to 6 cm long.