The trunk is up to eighty centimetres in diameter and is covered by the persistent remains of leaf bases. The crown is formed from numerous leaves up to three metres long, each bearing about two hundred narrow, glossy, dark green leaflets, somewhat lax, spreading and softly coriaceous. Each has seven to thirteen parallel veins which helps to distinguish this species from other members of the genus. The cylindrical cones are some of the largest of all cycad cones, rivaled only by Encephalartos transvenosus. The male cones can reach seventy five centimetres long and the female cones ninety centimetres, weighing up to forty five kilograms. The seeds are large and numerous and have red sarcotesta.