The Terap is a tall tree that can grow up to 50 m in height in its native forest habitat in Singapore, where it is common, and other parts of Malesia.
Its trunk often displays great buttresses, particularly when the tree is mature. Its leaves and twigs have hairy surfaces. The leaves of a young tree are deeply lobed, but as the tree matures, it produces leaves that are more entire (non-lobed), stiff and leathery. The male flowers occur in spike-like heads that are furrowed and ridged, turn from yellow to brown, and hang from stalks that are about 6 cm long. In contrast, the female flower heads are upright and barrel-shaped with soft, hairy, curved spines. Male and female flowers are found on the same tree (monoecious). Its fruit is about 18 cm long, and turns from cream-yellow to brown and emits a nauseous, rancid smell when ripe.
Various parts of the Terap have ethnobotanical value, such as for food, medicine and building materials. The latex of the tree, known as gutta terap, is used as a gum (bird lime) to trap birds.