HABIT : evergreen herbs, sometimes robust, stem epigeal, erect and unbranched or creeping and often branched, internodes green, smooth, often rooting at the nodes. LEAVES : several, forming an apical crown. PETIOLE : sheath usually long. BLADE : ovate-elliptic, narrowly elliptic, rarely broadly ovate or sublinear, base often unequal, attenuate to rounded, rarely cordate, often with striking, silvery and pale green patterns of leaf variegation; primary lateral veins pinnate, often weakly differentiated, running into marginal vein, higher order venation parallel-pinnate. INFLORESCENCE : 1-9 in each floral sympodium. PEDUNCLE : shorter or longer than petiole, deflexing in fruit. SPATHE : ovate to ± globose, erect, boat-shaped to convolute, not differentiated into tube and blade, often apiculate, green to whitish, slightly to strongly decurrent, marcescent. SPADIX : cylindric to clavate, shorter or longer than spathe, stipe long to almost absent, female zone rather few-flowered, contiguous with and much shorter than male zone, male zone fertile to apex. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : stamens not forming clear floral groups, filaments usually distinct, connective thickened, thecae opposite, obovoid, short, dehiscing by apical pore or reniform transverse slit. POLLEN : inaperturate, ellipsoid, large (mean 52 µm.), range 37-67 µm.), exine essentially psilate. FEMALE FLOWER : ovary subglobose, 1-locular, ovule 1, anatropous, shortly ovoid, funicle very short, placenta basal, style short, thick, stigma broad, discoid, concave centrally. BERRY : ellipsoid, outer layer fleshy green but turning yellow, rarely white and finally red. SEED : ellipsoid, almost as large as berry, testa thin, ± smooth, tegmen inconspicuous, embryo large, endosperm absent.