They are herbaceous perennial plants growing to 20-150 cm in height. The leaves are alternate on the stems, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, dark to medium green, 10-45 cm long and 4-16 cm broad, depending on the species.
The sap is poisonous to humans. It causes skin irritation. If ingested, the sap causes irritation of the mouth, lips, throat and tongue.
They are popular houseplants and ornamental plants for offices and shopping malls because they are among the easiest houseplants to grow. Numerous cultivars have been selected, including plants with variegated leaves. They tolerate a wide range of light, as well as neglect, and are relatively resistant to pests.