Herbs 15-200 cm tall; rhizomes horizontally creeping, white to brownish red inside, 4-20 cm long, to 10 mm in diam., roots fibrous; stolons 5-55 cm long, rooting at the nodes, each node with a membranous, brownish, ovate bract, basally sheathing, apex acuminate, 8-10(-22) mm long. Leaves scattered to mainly radical, somewhat succulent, 20-65 x (1-)1.5-6(-6.5) cm, mostly exceeding the inflorescence, glabrous. Inflorescence a thyrse, 2-44 cm long and 2-15 cm wide, the cincinni 5-25-flowered, simple, sometimes once branched, sometimes young plants sprouting from the axil of the cataphylls and/or primary bracts; number of cataphylls 2-6, 0.5-14 x 0.2-1.2 cm; primary bracts narrowly triangular, 0.1-3 cm long; floral bracts narrowly triangular, 0.1-0.2 cm long; pedicels 2-10 mm long; cataphylls, rachis, bracts, pedicels, and ovary sparsely to densely villose, hairs white (0.3-2 mm long), tepals and fruit almost glabrous. Flower buds pale yellow to orange, flowers white to yellowish white, sometimes with yellow honey-guide on the 3 adaxial tepals; tepals narrowly ovate-elliptic to ovate-elliptic, 4-13 x 1-6 mm, the 3 adaxial ones basally connate; stamens with white to pale green filaments and bright yellow to orange anthers, abaxial stamen 4-11 mm long, the 2 adaxial ones 3-6 mm long, dehiscence starting apically; ovary green, subglobose, style white to pale green, 3-5 mm long. Capsule green when young, maturing shiny orange, red, and finally black, (sub)globose, 5-10 mm in diam.; seeds black, subglobose, tuberculate, 0.5-1 mm in diam.
Guianas present, Neotropics present
Throughout the Neotropics; common in the 3 Guianas, ca. 150 collections studied.
English (French Guiana): coumarti feuilli, glaivane bleue, koupi koupi; English (Guyana): mountain grass, tigerplant, yarui balli; English (Suriname): ebesere-bina, salalang
In Guyana the plant is used to cure the worm infection which gives a curved foot (Hardy 245). In Suriname the plant is a remedy (= bina) against torn foot soles (= ebesere) (Ostendorf, 1962).
Xiphidium caeruleum is also cultivated in several neotropical countries as an ornamental.