From eastern Africa. This stemless plant sends up 3 feet-long, bulbous-based leaves directly from a large potato-like rhizome. The leaves comprise six to eight pairs of very glossy, deep green leaflets, each to 6 inches long. Mature plants may flower, producing near the base a green, hoodlike spathe surrounding a single spike-like spadix that holds many tiny cream-colored flowers. Has the look of a cycad, such as Zamia, but is actually related to Philodendron and peace lily (Spathiphyllum). It is supremely tolerant of low light and infrequent watering, making it an ideal houseplant.
Indoors or out, it is usually grown in containers. Give well-drained soil. Water regularly, but let the soil dry out between soakings. Don't let plant stand in water or it will quickly rot (yellow leaves are an indicator of too much water). Feed with a diluted liquid fertilizer during summer. Bring indoors when temperatures dip below 60F; water sparingly in winter.