A major family of monocotyledons comprising tiny to giant herbs and many bole climbers, which produce sap with irritant crystals. The leaves commonly have net-veins. Flowers are borne in a spike (spadix) subtended by an often colourful spathe; they are small, usually unisexual, the male apical (see raceme), and usually lack a perianth. The fruit is a berry. There are 106 genera, and about 2950 species, with pantropical distribution (especially America), with temperate outliers.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.