The Malayan sword is a shrubby plant that grows to about 0.2 to 1.2 m (7.9 in to 3 ft 11.2 in) tall with straight stems. Its dark-green leaves are arranged spirally. The leaves are oval-shaped, with a length between 10 – 35 cm and a width between 1.9 – 25 cm, and sunken veins. The fruits are red and ovoid. The seeds are possibly dispersed by mammals and birds.