Laticifers absent. HABIT : seasonally dormant or evergreen herbs, rhizome subterranean, horizontal to erect, sometimes stoloniferous, roots thick, spindle-shaped, often very fleshy, almost tuberous. LEAVES : 1 to several, cataphylls often conspicuously mottled and apically auriculate, sometimes persistent as fibrous mass. PETIOLE : sheath short to long, often purplish-spotted or banded. BLADE : lanceolate, ovate, ± rounded, cordate-sagittate, sagittate, hastate-sagittate or hastate; primary lateral veins pinnate or mostly arising basally, long-arcuate and running into marginal vein, lowermost primaries sometimes retrorse and then ascending, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : 1-4 in each floral sympodium, appearing before or with leaves, borne at or partially below ground level. PEDUNCLE : short, much shorter than petiole. SPATHE : erect, marcescent, tube : margins connate, often ventricose at extreme base, sometimes constricted between a lower and an upper inflated zone, rarely entire spathe narrowly cylindric, blade : lanceolate-elliptic, ± gaping or opening only by narrow longitudinal slit, often much thickened. SPADIX : free, shorter than spathe, female zone densely flowered, sometimes contiguous with male zone, often separated by axis bearing a few (to many) sterile or bisexual flowers, male zone fertile to apex. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigoniate, borne in single basal whorl or in spirals; perigone a single cup-like (urceolate) structure. MALE FLOWER : perigone often with very thick, fleshy margins, stamens 2-7, free, filaments filiform, long, rarely much thickened apically, connective slender, sometimes slightly thickened, thecae oblong, dehiscing by longitudinal slit, pistillode central, cylindric to conoid, sometimes absent. POLLEN : inaperturate, or sometimes vestigially monosulcate, ellipsoid, large (mean 53 µm., range 43-58 µm.), exine foveolate-reticulate or subreticulate. FEMALE FLOWER : perigone usually greatly thickened and sticky-glandular or farinaceous on upper surface, ovary 1-4-locular, ovules 1-many per locule, anatropous, placenta basal, parietal or axile, style thick, ± cylindric, exserted beyond perigone, stigma capitate to broadly discoid and massive. BERRY : borne at or below ground level in globose to cylindric infructescence, often rugose, fleshy, 1-few-seeded. SEED : ovoid to ellipsoid, slightly compressed, testa black, thin, costate, embryo axile, elongate, endosperm copious.
Seasonally dormant or evergreen, rhizomatous geophytes; cataphylls often conspicuously mottled; leaf blade linear to cordate, sagittate or hastate, fine venation reticulate; inflorescence appearing before or with the leaves, borne at or partially below ground level; flowers unisexual, perigoniate, perigone a single cup-like structure, more conspicuous in female flowers; male flower usually with central pistillode, filaments slender, free. Differs from Zamioculcas and Gonatopus in having entire (not compound) leaves, tepals connate into a cup and spathe tube margins connate.