Habit and leaf form. Herbs; evergreen, or deciduous; laticiferous. Perennial. Leaves basal. Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves; cormous, or rhizomatous, or tuberous. Helophytic, or mesophytic. Heterophyllous, or not heterophyllous. Leaves very large; alternate; spiral, or distichous; petiolate; sheathing (the sheath membranous). Leaf sheaths with free margins. Leaves with ‘normal’ orientation; simple. Leaf blades ovate to orbicular; pinnately veined, or palmately veined; cross-venulate; cuneate at the base, or hastate, or sagittate, or cordate. Leaves ligulate, or eligulate. Axillary scales present, or absent. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Vegetative anatomy. Plants without silica bodies. Leaf anatomy. Guard-cells not ‘grass type’. Hairs absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent. Roots. Roots with velamen, or without velamen.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male and functionally female. Unisexual flowers present. Plants monoecious. The unisexual flowers aggregated in different parts of the same inflorescence. Female flowers with staminodes (interspersed among the ovaries in some species), or without staminodes. Anemophilous, or entomophilous. Pollination mechanism conspicuously specialized, or unspecialized.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in spikes. Inflorescences simple (solitary). The terminal inflorescence unit seemingly racemose. Inflorescences scapiflorous, or not scapiflorous; peduncle long, stout; with numerous flowers, males above females, lacking sterile sections; pseudanthial; spatheate (spathe subcylindrical to funnel-shaped, erect, coloured or leaf-like, persistent, convolute, not constricted, with a spreading limb). Flowers ebracteate; ebracteolate; small; (these or the spadix) fragrant, or malodorous; cyclic. Perianth absent. Fertile stamens present, or absent (when female). Androecium 2–3. Androecial members free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 2–3; with sessile anthers. Anthers connivent; dehiscing via pores; extrorse; bisporangiate, or tetrasporangiate. Pollen shed in aggregates; in long beaded strings. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (when male). Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 3 locular. The ‘odd’ carpel posterior. Gynoecium shortly stylate. Styles apical. Stigmas discoid; wet type, or dry type; non-papillate; Group II type. Placentation axile. Ovules 1–8 per locule; attached dorsally to the central placenta; orthotropous, or hemianatropous, or anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy; green, or orange; indehiscent; a berry (berries clustered, usually surrounded by, and contained within, the withering spathe). Dispersal unit the fruit, or the inflorescence. Fruit few to numerous seeded. Seeds subglobose or ovoid; endospermic, or non-endospermic. Perisperm absent. Seeds with starch. Cotyledons 1. Embryo straight (linear). Seedling. Hypocotyl internode present, or absent. Mesocotyl absent. Seedling collar not conspicuous. Cotyledon hyperphyll compact; assimilatory, or non-assimilatory. Coleoptile absent. Seedling non-macropodous. First leaf dorsiventral. Primary root ephemeral.
Physiology, biochemistry. Photosynthetic pathway: C3.
Geography, cytology, number of species. Adventive. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. South-West Botanical Province.
Additional characters Leaves not solitary.