HABIT : usually seasonally dormant, often robust, sometimes gigantic herbs, tuber hypogeal, depressed-subglobose, often bearing few to very numerous tubercles on upper surface. LEAVES : usually solitary. PETIOLE : very long, often verrucose-asperate, sometimes bearing few to many longer, prickle-like processes, covered with striking, transversely banded variegation, usually weakly geniculate at apex, sheathed only at very base. BLADE : trisect, sometimes perforate, primary anterior divisions usually trisect at middle and primary posterior divisions bisect below the middle, secondary and tertiary divisions further subdivided, ultimate lobes usually elliptic-acuminate, rarely linear (D.margaretae); primary lateral veins of ultimate lobes pinnate, forming arching submarginal collective veins, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : 1(-2), preceded by cataphylls, often appearing before, with or after the leaf. PEDUNCLE : very short to long, epidermis similar to petiole. SPATHE : oblong, usually ± boat-shaped, erect, acute, cuspidate to acuminate, often fornicate, convolute basally, gaping above, rarely pubescent within, marcescent to persistent, usually dark brown-purple outside, more reddish purple within and often white at the base within. SPADIX : shortly stipitate, shortly cylindric to ellipsoid, much shorter than spathe, apical flowers sometimes sterile or with enlarged irregularly shaped, projecting structures. FLOWERS : bisexual, perigoniate; tepals 4-8, dilated apically, fornicate. STAMENS : usually 4-6, sometimes up to 12, usually longer than tepals at anthesis, filaments somewhat dilated, ± compressed, anthers longer than connective, connective slender, thecae oblong-ellipsoid, dehiscing by apical slit. POLLEN : extruded in a conglutinate mass, monosulcate, ellipsoid to oblong, medium-sized (mean 36 µm., range 29-43 µm.), exine foveolate-fossulate to subreticulate, apertural exine rugulate or verruculate. GYNOECIUM : ovary ovoid, incompletely 1-6-locular, ovules 1 per locule or 2 when ovary 1-locular, anatropous or subcampylotropous, funicle short, placenta axile to subbasal, style as long or much longer than ovary, projecting beyond perigone, stigma small, subcapitate or slightly 3--lobed. BERRY : usually obpyramidal, bearing style rudiment, greenish to brown. SEED : rounded-reniform, a little compressed, testa verrucose to almost smooth, rather thick, embryo curved, endosperm present.
Tuberous geophytes, often robust, sometimes gigantic; petiole usually verrucose-asperate and variegated transversely, only weakly geniculate apically; leaves usually solitary, blade dracontioid, ultimate leaflets mostly acuminate, fine venation reticulate; spadix usually hidden within spathe; flowers bisexual, perigoniate; seed verrucose to almost smooth. Differs from Pycnospatha in presence of perigone, smooth red berries, and Neotropical range.