Rhopalostylis sapida is a statuesque palm tree, reaching 10–30 ft (3–9 m) high. The trunk is ringed by leaf scars. The feather-shaped leaves are up to 10 ft (3 m) long. The flowers are in much-branched spikes, lilac to pale pink; summer.
Rhopalostylis sapida is found in lowland forests throughout the North Island, and south to the Banks Peninsula of South Island, and the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. It is commonly called nikau palm, from the Maori.