Herbs, perennial. Roots: rhizomes present. Stems erect to ascending, to 1 m. Leaves spirally arranged; leaf sheaths with red hairs at summit; blade lanceolate-elliptic to lanceolate-oblong, 6–20 × 1–5 cm, apex acuminate. Inflorescences: distal cyme vestigial, included (very rarely 1-flowered and exserted); spathes clustered, subsessile, funnelform, 1.5–3.5 × 1.2–2 cm, margins connate basally, glabrous (rarely puberulent). Flowers bisexual (rarely staminate); petals all pale blue, proximal one smaller; staminodes 3; antherodes entirely yellow, cruciform. Capsules 3-locular, 2-valved, (5.5–)6–9 × 3–6 mm. Seeds 5, brown, (2.4–)3–5(–6) × 2.4–3.1 mm, smooth with a few, shallow, irregular depressions, farinose. n = 30.
Phenology: Flowering midsummer–fall.
Habitat: Wet places, especially swamps, river and stream banks, ditches, and bottomlands, shade or full sun
Ala., Ark., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., La., Md., Miss., Mo., N.J., N.C., Okla., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.