Epiphytic or rarely terrestrial; caudices rooting at the nodes, short or moderately elongate, slender to stout. LEAVES distichous; petioles moderately long, prominently sheathed, geniculate at apex; blades oblong to oblong-elliptic or lanceolate, moderately coriaceous to subcoriaceous; midrib narrowly sunken on upper surface, often marginally discolorous, prominently raised on the lower surface; primary lateral veins inconspicuous, often scarcely visible, scarcely more prominent than the primary lateral veins when dried, often drying weakly raised and appearing numerous, straight or weakly arcuate to the margin and not f(orming a collective vein. INFLORESCENCES erect, shorter than the leaves, the peduncle usually cernuous near apex, later erect; spathe usually white, moderately coriaceous to coriaceous, promptly deciduous, usually naviculiform and cuspidate at the apex, convolute or nearly so at base; spadix sessile or stipitate, usually uniform, white.Flowers perfect and naked; stamens 4, the filaments complanate, abruptly narrowed at apex into a slender connective, about as long at the ovary but never exserted; anthers with thecae oblong-ovoid, acute, dehiscent by lateral slits that do not reach the base of the cell; ovary obpyramidal to prismatic, truncate at apex, 2-celled, ovules four or more per cell, collateral, anatropous; style short, thicker than the ovary, stigma linear-oblong, slightly raised. INFRUCTESCENCES with fruits scarcely enlarged from the pistils, baccate, obovoid; seeds 3 or more per cell, clavate-cylindric, slender, with a thick testa; endosperm copious.
HABIT : epiphytic, climbing hemiepiphytic or terrestrial evergreen herbs, stem rather densely leaved, erect, often elongated. LEAVES : many. PETIOLE : geniculate apically, sheath long. BLADE : oblong-elliptic or lanceolate, oblique, often rather thick, venation usually obscured; midrib narrowly sulcate above, primary lateral veins weakly or not differentiated, pinnate, running into margin, secondary laterals parallel-pinnate, higher order venation inconspicuous. INFLORESCENCE : solitary, often nodding. PEDUNCLE : relatively long. SPATHE : convolute, gaping at anthesis, boat-shaped or opening widely, white, caducous. SPADIX : usually stipitate, rarely sessile, cylindric. FLOWERS : bisexual, perigone absent. STAMENS : 4, filaments oblong, flattened, connective slender, thecae ovoid-ellipsoid, dehiscing by longitudinal slit. POLLEN : extruded in strands, fully zonate or inaperturate, hamburger-shaped or subspheroidal, medium-sized (mean 42 µm., range 30-58 µm.), exine psilate to shallowly and sparsely foveolate, fossulate-foveolate, verrucate or baculate. GYNOECIUM : compressed obconic to cylindric, ovary (1-) 2-locular, ovules 4-many per locule, anatropous, arranged in 2 rows, funicles long, placenta basal, stylar region well-developed, usually broader than ovary and truncate, stigma elliptic to punctiform. BERRY : obovoid, truncate apically, locules 3-many-seeded, white, orange (S. ulei) to reddish orange, or yellow. SEED : clavate to ellipsoid, raphe prominent, testa thickish, smooth, embryo axile, elongate, endosperm copious.
Evergreen epiphytes or terrestrials, stem often elongated; trichosclereids abundant; petiole geniculate apically; leaf blades entire, fine venation parallel-pinnate, often obscured; inflorescence often nodding; spathe deciduous after flowering; flowers bisexual, perigone absent; seeds less than 3 mm long; endosperm present. Differs from Rhodospatha in basal placentation, seeds fusiform to claviform; and leaf blades thickly coriaceous.