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It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant, evergreen where rainfall and temperatures are adequate, deciduous where there is a dry season. Its preferred habitat is in streams and ponds or on the banks. It grows to 0.6–1 m (2–3 ft) tall, with large clumps of broad, arrow shaped dark green leaves up to 45 cm (18 in) long. The Inflorescences are large, produced in spring, summer and autumn, with a pure white spathe up to 25 cm (10 in) and a yellow spadix up to 90 mm (3½ in) long.
I spotted this in Southern California Z. aethiopica is native to southern and east Africa in Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Madeira. It has become naturalised in Australia, particularly in Western Australia where it occurs in areas with high periodical water tables and sandy soils, and has been classified as a toxic weed and pest.