Description: Erect, glabrous, herbs (sometimes with pubescent leaf sheath); rhizome horizontal, branching.
Leaves spirally arranged, linear, lanceolate or oblanceolate; venation pinnate.
Inflorescence a spike, terminal on an erect aerial stem; bracts usually green and inconspicuous. Flowers zygomorphic, 3-merous, bisexual. Tepals 6, in 2 whorls, outer ovate to lanceolate, usually green; the inner several times longer than the outer, lanceolate or linear, petaloid, 1 shorter than the other 2, ± fused basally, fused with the stamen and staminodes into a tube. Stamens 5; staminodes 1–4 (usually petaloid); fertile stamen 1; anther lateral on the ± petaloid filament, 1-locular, dehiscing by a longitudinal slit. Ovary inferior, surface warty; 3-locular, style flat, fleshy to petaloid.
Fruit a hard capsule with a textured surface; seeds ovoid, smooth and black.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 1 genus, c. 50 species, tropical & subtropical America. Australia: 1 species and 2 hybrids (naturalized), Qld, N.S.W.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Cannaceae, Order: Zingiberales)
Text by A. K. Brooks