Herbs, amphibious, monoecious. Rhizome creeping, stoloniferous (usually subterranean). Leaves in a rosette, linear to spatulate to oblanceolate to cordate; veins arching from base of blade and connected by transverse veinlets. Peduncle very short, elongating at maturity. Spathe tubular with margins fused for most of length, proximally swollen forming a chamber (kettle) enclosing spadix; limb varying in shape, a collar or collar zone often present, in some species limb spirally twisted. Spadix at first fused at apex to base of spathe flap closing kettle (later breaking loose), much shorter than spathe; basal part with naked, connate gynoecia; intermediate zone naked; male zone apical; appendix conic, short. Female flowers 4-8, each 1-loculed; ovules many, subbasal (adaxial); styles free; stigma globose to elongate. Olfactory bodies immediately above stigmas regular or irregular structures. Male flowers naked; stamens solitary; thecae each dehiscent by an apical pore. Fruit syncarplike, multiple; each part ultimately splitting at adaxial part and becoming star-shaped, follicle-like; a few species splitting in a septicidal/septifragal-ceratium-like way. Seeds many, ellipsoid, small; endosperm usually copious.