A robust palm that grows along streamsides in moist forest or swamp forest in the highlands of central eastern Madagascar close to 1000 m (3000 ft.) a.s.l. It produces a thick, solitary or clustering trunk that branches high above ground. The somewhat untidy, upright crown consists of numerous, long, arching, pinnate leaves. The leafbases produce copious amounts of piassava fibers that clothe the upper part of the trunk and that have been used for rope production. The sizeable, purplish to black fruits are said to be edible. An interesting and very unusual palm for the tropical and warm temperate/subtropical garden.