Herb., App. 7:96.1821
Glabrous, acaulescent herb, 10-50 cm tall. Leaves arising from an underground bulb, this globose, to ca 3 cm diam; blades linear, narrowly acute at apex, to 50 cm long and 3-9 mm wide, moderately thick, canaliculate and often purplish near ground level. Scapes terete, hollow, ± equaling leaves, bearing 1 flower, the single cylindric spathe with a tube to 2 cm long, narrowly attenuate on one side to a deeply cleft tip; pedicel slender, to 5 cm long; flower white; perianth tube less than 5 mm long, the lobes obovate or oblanceolate, acute to bluntly acuminate at apex, 3-4.5 cm long, 6-16 mm wide; filaments 1.5-2.5 cm long, inserted at base of tube; anthers yellow, linear, attached below middle; style slender, 2.5-3.7 cm long, trifid; stigma lobes linear, to 2.5 mm long, narrowly tapered and weakly recurved at apex, the stigmatic surface on upper edge, chiefly in outer two-thirds of lobes. Capsules 3-valved, ca 8 mm long and 10 mm wide, yellowish or brown; seeds 6, 2 per carpel, ± ovoid, ca 6-7 mm long, somewhat flattened, shiny, black. Croat 14889, 17365.
Growing in the Laboratory Clearing, apparently not the result of cultivation. Flowers in the early rainy season (May to August). The fruits develop quickly, probably within one month of flowering.
Nothing is known of the dispersal of the seeds. Since they are shiny and black, they might be picked by birds, or, just as likely, they may merely spill out of the capsule.
Southern United States, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, and Argentina; Jamaica; no doubt more widespread. In Panama, known only from tropical moist forest on the Atlantic slope in Bocas del Toro, the Canal Zone, and San Blas (Puerto Obaldia).