The plant grows to 2 m tall, with large, The leaves are evergreen and arranged in two ranks, making a fan-shaped crown. The floweres stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is termed the spathe. This is placed perpendicular to the stem, which gives it the appearance of a bird’s head and beak; it makes a durable perch for holding the sunbirds which pollinate the flowers. The flowers, which emerge one at a time from the spathe, consist of three brilliant orange sepeals and three purplish-blue or white petals.