Treelet or shrub, sometimes scandent, to 10 m, tall. Stem often with spines opposite petiole; nodes glandular-dotted. Prophyll oblong, 0.4-1 cm long. Petiole 3-12 cm long, glabrous, vaginate at base; blade membranous or firmly chartaceous, not glandular-dotted, ovate or broadly ovate, 14-30 x 7-18 cm, apex acute or acuminate, base equal, obtuse or rounded; palmately 5-7(-9)-veined, veins plane to impressed above, very prominent below, tertiary veins transverse. Inflorescence erect; peduncle 0.7-2 cm long, glabrous or minutely puberulous; spike 6-12(-15) cm long, white or greyish, not aciculate; rachis glabrous; floral bracts glabrous or sparsely puberulous. Fruits greenish white, obovoid or oblongoid, 1.5 x 1.2-1.5 mm, puberulous, with glabrous disc at apex, separate at maturity, stigmas 3(-4), sessile.
C and northern S America present, Southern America
West Indies, C and northern S America; 18 collections studied (GU: 3; SU: 3; FG: 9).