Epiphyte, usually to 1.5 m tall. Leaves ligulate, acute to rounded with a triangular apiculum, to 1 m long, 3.5-7 cm wide, glabrous above, densely lepidote below, the margins with black spines to 1 cm long, the spines antrorse at apex of blade, otherwise spreading, the sheath of blade suborbicular., to 10 cm long, brown at base. Scapes usually arched in flower; scape bracts linear-lanceolate, acuminate, to 20 cm long, bright red; inflorescences densely flowered, bipinnate, cylindrical, often more than 1 m long, the spikes with 2-4 fertile flowers, the uppermost reduced; floral bracts forming a tubular sheath around calyx, the outermost bracts with a slender dark spine at apex to 2.5 cm long; sepals coriaceous, tapered to apex, ca 2 cm long, tightly enveloping lower part of corolla, persistent in fruit; petals pale yellow or greenish-yellow, to 3.5 cm long, spreading above the sepals, each subtended within by 2 fimbriate scales. stamens exserted; style with 3 branches; stigmas oblique, twisted together in bud, their margins and apex pubescent; ovary inferior; nectar copious, accumulating in flower tube. Berries fleshy, 8-seeded; seeds narrowly ovoid, ca 5 mm. long and 2 mm wide, reddish. Croat 8033. Occasional, in the forest, usually high in trees. Flowers from February to May. The fruits mature in the rainy season. A variety of creatures, including ants, lives at the base of the leaves. The fruits are no doubt chiefly dispersed by birds though they are apparently neither colorful nor very well exposed at maturity. Panama, Colombia, the Guianas, and Amazonian Brazil. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Colón, Panama, and Darién, most abundantly in wettest areas such as the Atlantic coast.