Caulescent, perennial herb, usually 2-3 m tall. Leaves both basal and cauline; petioles usually much longer than blade; blades broadest at base, gradually tapering, ovate to ovate-lanceolate, gradually or abruptly short-acuminate at apex, obtuse or rounded at base, 20-75 cm long, 5-30 cm wide, glabrous, sometimes +/- pruinose on underside. Inflorescences widely branched, very diffuse panicles, many-flowered; peduncles often very long, exceeding leaves; rachis of spikes sharply flexuous, the internodes 5-10 mm long; bracts 1-2.5 cm long, usually bluish, caducous; flowers in pairs subtended by a pair of unequal bracts, green or bluish, caducous, the longest 1.5-2.5cm long, sessile; sepals 3, oblong to obovate, violet at least medially, rounded at apex; labellum obovate, clawed, ca 2 cm long, the blade lavender, to 1.2 cm wide; petals very irregular, violet; ovary obovate, ca 2.5 mm long; style spirally twisted, spring-loaded, bearing two slender appendages. Fruits nutlike, indehiscent, 1-seeded. Croat 5455, Shattuck 971. Rare; restricted to undisturbed marshy areas along the shore. Flowers throughout the year, but especially in the dry season. The fruits develop quickly and often share the same inflorescence, as in Stromanthe jacquinii. Florida and Mexico to Argentina; Greater Antilles. In Panama, known principally from tropical moist forest on the Pacific slope in the Canal Zone, Chiriqui, Panama, and Darien; known also from tropical dry forest in Herrera and Panama, from premontane moist forest in Panama, and from premontane wet forest in Chiriqui.