Rhizomatous, glabrous, large herbs; rhizome either short and tuberous or long-creeping, fleshy, subterranean, horizontal, sympodially branched, with distichous, membranous scales, and cylindrical roots, especially at the base of the shoots, rhizome scales to c. 1.5 cm long. Leaves: lamina large, ovate-elliptic, slightly asymmetric, petiole indistinct, base narrowed into the sheath to rounded, apex obtuse to acute, often shortly acuminate and/or ending in a filiform thread. Inflorescence sympodially branched or simple, with 1- or 2-flowered cincinni; primary bracts placed on the rachis at each node, basally completely enclosing the rachis, apically often ending in a filiform thread; branch bracts 2 at each branching point, placed at the base of the secondary rachis and both basally partially enclosing that rachis: one 2-keeled and placed between the rachis and the branch, apex sometimes ending in a short filiform thread; floral bracts spirally arranged on the branches, each subtending a cincinnus; bracteoles placed on the pedicel, each subtending one flower. Flowers red, orange, yellow, purple, or white, generally erect; sepals erect, narrowly triangular to narrowly obovate, acute to obtuse, persistent; petals mostly erect, narrowly ovate-triangular, cucullate, acute to acuminate; staminodes 1–4(–5), petaloid, sometimes 1 recurved, obovate to narrowly triangular, apex obtuse, acute, acuminate, or emarginate; stamen with 1 theca, connate for up to half of its length with the petaloid part of the stamen; pollen spherical, 55–77 μm diameter, inaperturate, wall provided with spinules; style firm and fleshy, connate for most of its length with the stamen, stigmatic areas 3, shaped as 2 callose strips along the edges of the apical part and 1 vertical row of papils, apex asymmetrically truncate. Fruit generally green, maturing brown, ellipsoid to obovoid, more or less trigonous; wall covered by soft tubercles; tubercles 1–2 mm long, maturing woody and shed with age. Seeds black to dark brown, globose to ellipsoid, very hard.