previous arrow
next arrow


Perennial herbs of diverse habits, slender or robust terrestrial, climbers, sometimes epiphytic, or floating aquatics, with watery, acrid, or milky juice, stems rhizomatous or tuberous or cormous. Leaves simple or compound, basal, or cauline and alternate, petioled, base sheathing, blades variously lamellate with pinnate- or palmate-netted venetion. Inflorescence of spadix, subtended by large, showy spathe. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, if unisexual, plants more often monoecious with males towards apex and females towards spadix-base, often with foetid-odour.  Perianth rare in unisexual flowers, of 4-6 segments in bisexual flowers. Stamens 4-8, anthers 2-4-celled. Carpels connate in 1-3-celled ovary, ovules 1-many, placentation various. Fruit a berry. Seeds 1-few.