Clump-forming herb to about 0.5 m tall. Leaves to about 30 cm long, 15 cm wide, ovate, pale green to cream above with dark green elliptic blotches on either side of the midrib, similar below but reddish-purple; leaf stalk reddish-purple, slightly hairy. Flower clusters arising directly from the base of the clump and bearing an ovoid spike with spiralling bracts. Flowers white, tipped pink.
Species can often be identified by their leaf variegation, the following are illustrated: C. ornata 'Rosealineata', C. picturata 'Argentea', C. roseopicta, C. rufibarba, C. zebrina Zebra Plant. Sometimes mistakenly placed in Maranta.
Source: (2005). Marantaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.