Shrub; stem 2- 3(-5) m, erect, simple, 10-15 cm in diameter, densely clothed with dead leaves. Leaves 50-100 x 5-15 cm, dull green, sometimes tinged with red, usually with numerous spines on both surfaces, especially near the apex; marginal spines up to 6 mm, stout, reddish-brown. Inflorescence c. 100 cm, with 5-8 branches; racemes 50-75 cm, stiffly erect; bracts 8-10 mm, brownish; pedicels 4-5 mm. Perianth 30-35 mm, scarlet or orange; outer segments connate in basal 1/3; inner free, but adnate to outer at base. Stamens exceeding perianth by 20-25 mm.