STEM: erect, decumbent and sprwaling or semi-erect, branching sparingly in basal parts, up to 3.5m tall, 5 – 13 cm diam.; adventitious roots dimorphicin epiphytic plants, anchor roots of smaller diam. attaching plant to host tree, feeder roots of larger diam. connecting stem to soil; internodes 1 mm long or less; prophyll scars short, up to about 1 cm long; intravaginal squamules sometimes absent, up to 20 mm long, 0.5 - 2.5 mm wide at base, usually triangular and ± flattened sometimes rather massive and conic, patent, sparse to densely abundant and persistent; foliage leaf scars 4 - 6 cm long, 3 - 7 cm wide, circular to transverse-elliptic, paler than rest of stem surface. LEAF: prophyll deciduous, up to at least 45 cm long; petiole 70 - 120( - 150) cm long, (0.7 -)1 - 1.7 cm diam. at apex, broadly sulcate adaxially with sharply angled margins or flattened or occasionally slightly convex, rounded abaxially, sheath c. 12 cm long on leaves subtending inflorescences; leaf blade usually bipinnatifid, either weakly or very strongly so, occasionally pinnatifid, very variable in lobe and sinus shape, broadly cordiform-sagittate in outline, overall length 75- 120 cm, overall width 60 - 120 cm, upper surface glossy dark green, lower surface paler, ± glossy; anterior division 45- 83 cm long, (25- )50 - 100 cm wide at base, apical lobe acute-acuminate to rounded-apiculate, often oblique, longer or shorter than adjacent primary lateral lobes, primary lateral lobes (5- ) 6 - 9 ( - 10) per side, basal primary lateral lobes (12 - )17 - 35( - 55) cm long, 4- 22 cm wide at widest point, outline linear to spathulate, apex ± triangular with tip acute-acuminate to rounded, margins normally lobed, sometimes very strongly so, rarely repand or ± entire, acroscopic secondary lobes (1 - )2 - 5, usually longer and more numerous than basiscopic ones, basiscopic secondary lobes 0 - 5, the longest (0.8 -)3- 17 cm long, midveins usually present, main sinuses of basal primary lateral lobes ending 1.5- 10 cm from midrib, 0.4 - 5 cm wide near sinus apex, primary lateral veins as many as primary lateral lobes, arising at an angle of 30 - 90 deg., concolorous with blade on upper surface, whitish-green and often pink- or peach-tinged on lower surface; posterior divisions 27 - 40 cm long, 0.29 - 0.41 x overall blade length, 30 - 37( -60) cm wide, basal ribs denuded for 2 - 6 cm, primary acroscopic lobes 2 - 6, the longest 18 - 35 cm long, usually fewer than primary basiscopic lobes, secondary lobes usually present, primary basiscopic lobes (3- )4 - 7( - 8), longest 9 - 23 (-37) cm long, secondary lobes rarely developed. INFLORESCENCE: normally solitary, rarely in pairs; peduncle 5- 10 cm long, (1.5-) 2 - 5 cm diam. at apex, green; spathe (12 - )16 - 33 cm long, (2 - )3- 5.5 (- 6.5) cm diam. at middle, recurrent for 3 - 6.5 (- 8.5) cm, somewhat constricted centrally at anthesis, outer surface of basal half green, maroon-purple or chocolate brown, apical half paler, greener or more yellowish, sometimes with resolute margins when expanded at anthesis, inner surface of spathe entirely creamy white, rarely purple to rose-tinged in inflorescences which are strongly pigmented on outer surface; spadix 15 - 25( - 28.5) cm long overall, fertile male zone (3 - )6 - 8.5( - 9) cm long, (1.5- )2 - 2.7(- 3.2) cm diam. , ellipsoid to cylindric, apex acute to rounded, white, sterile male zone longer and thicker than fertile male zone, (5. 5 - )6.5 - 11( - 14.5) cm long, (1.5 - )2 - 3(- 3.2) cm diam. near apex, increasing gradually to (2 - )2.5 - 3.7( - 4) cm diam. near base, white, female zone (2.8 -)3 - 5( - 5.7) cm long, (1.7 - )2 - 3.3(- 4.) cm diam., tapering upwards, adnate dorsally to spathe for 1/2 to 3/4 of length. Flowers: stamens 5 - 5.5( - 6.5) mm long, 0.8 - 1.2 mm wide at apex, staminodes 2 - 6 mm long, 1-2 mm wide at apex, mostly prismatic in transverse section, cylindric to cyanate, truncate at apex, in basal part of sterile zone usually tortoise and longer than the rest; gynoecium 3.8 - 7.5 mm long, ovary 2 - 3.7 mm diam., cylindric to somewhat barrel-shaped, occasionally with rawhide cells in axial region, locales (6 - )7 - 13( - 15) per ovary, ovules (1 - )2 - 4( - 6) per locale, evenly spread on locule axis from base to above middle or even to near apex, style body usually present, as wide as or distinctly narrower than ovary and style crown, sometimes lacking, raphide cells abundant, sparse or absent in axial region around stylar canals, compitum varying from extremely shallow to penetrating deeply into ovary axis, style crown strongly lobed, style lobes tanniniferous or not, central dome varying from absent to very well developed and itself lobed, the lobes naked and projecting beyond stigma hairs, stigma 2 - 3.8 mm wide, entirely covering style crown lobes or absent from their dorsal sides, contiguous with adjacent stigmas, tannin hairs varying from absent to abundant. INFRUCTESCENCE: berries 1.4 cm long, 0.7 - 0.8 cm wide, ± cylindric, white or yellow when ripe, with edible, sweet-tasting pulp; seeds 3.5 - 4 mm long, 1.7 - 1.8 mm diam., subcylindric, slightly broader at micropylar end, either sarcotestate with non-arillate funicle or lacking a sarcotesta and with an arillate funicle and raphe, funicle sometimes bearing a blob of sticky mucilaginous material in ripe seed.
P. bipinnatifidum is an important plant in indigenous cultures in Paraguay, northern Argentina and probably Brazil. In a fine paper, Crisci & Gancedo (1971) discuss the use of the roots for binding and the berries as a sweet food and medicinal source. Peckolt & Peckolt (1890) describe its medicinal properties under the names P. bipinnatifidum and P. selloum.