Clustered slender to moderate palm climbing to 50-75 m, rarely to 150 m. Stems circular in cross-section, without sheaths, 10-18 mm in diameter, with 22-30 mm; internodes 13-16 cm long. Leaf sheath longitudinally striate, sparsely to moderately covered with light brown scale-like indumentum; ocrea entire, ± truncate saddle-shaped with a 2.5-4.0 cm rounded lobe adaxial to the leaf; knee absent. Juvenile stems up to 20 m long; stem with sheath, up to 1.5 cm in diameter; ocrea with distinct linear wrinkle on adaxial side; petiole 1 cm long; leaves bifid, up to 40 cm by 50 cm, deeply notched, lobes sharply triangular; cirrus up to 80 cm long, emerging from the centre; elaminate rachis often present on juvenile stems, 50-75 cm long. Leaves on mature stems sessile, up to 3.5 m long; rachis 1-1.5 m long, abaxially rounded, adaxially flattened, becoming trapezoid then rounded in cross-section distally, armed along the margins with inequidistant, reflexed thorns, becoming sparsely armed distally, underside of rachis with sparse light brown indumentum; cirrus 1.2-2 m long, unarmed; leaflets, up to 25 pairs on each side of the rachis, linear-lanceolate, abruptly contracted at the base, irregularly and narrowly praemorse at apex, 22-35 cm long by 2-2.5 cm broad at the widest point, concolorous, with 5-7 inconspicuous transverse veinlets 1-2 mm apart, armed along the margins with inequidistant, curved, forward-facing brown-tan spines; lowermost leaflets, smaller than the rest, linear-ovate, reflexed and laxly clasping the stem; acanthophylls ca.3 cm long, parallel to cirrus. Inflorescence glabrous, up to 55 cm long; peduncle 10-15 cm long; rachis 25-40 cm long, arching outwards, rarely straight; rachis bracts, acuminate, opposite proximally, alternate distally, 1-3 mm long, decreasing distally; rachillae distichous, arching vertically, sometimes horizontal, straight, 10-14 on each side, 12-18 cm long, decreasing distally, adnate to the inflorescence axis for 0.5-1.5 mm, with 1 mm long triangular incomplete bracts subtending each dyad. Flowers borne in close pairs; calyx 3 mm long by 6 mm wide at the mouth, with 3 distinct, rounded, lobes; corolla 10 mm long by 4 mm wide, divided to quarter of its length; stamens united into 5 mm long epipetalous ring; free filaments 0.5 mm; anthers 1 mm long; ovary 4 mm by 2.5 mm tipped with ca. 2 mm long style. Fruit at maturity 1-seeded, rarely 2-seeded, ± cylindrical, 2.2-2.6 cm long by 1-1.5 cm wide, with 17-24 rows of vertical scales. Seed compressed, 1.8-2 cm long by 1.4-1.8 cm wide by 1 cm thick, flattened on one side or with a shallow depression, embryo lateral, raised, opposite the flattened side.
This species is extremely light demanding, occurring naturally in gap vegetation and forest margins. As a result of this, in common with other members of the genus, E. macrocarpa responds extremely well to selective logging activities and is a common component of regrowth vegetation. The specific name refers to the comparatively large fruits.
Heimisch in, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Eremospatha macrocarpa is a very widespread and common species and is distributed from Senegal in West Africa through to the lowland forests of the Congo Basin.