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Caledan is a bunch-forming tuberous herb with long, flat, fibrous leaves, small yellow star-shaped flowers at ground level, and an elongated root stock bearing several fleshy roots. Its most distinctive quality is the unusual arrangement of its leaves, in that they strongly resemble a pleated skirt, and will wave slowly in even quite gentle breezes.

Its leaf fibers are used to make nets, hammocks, and the like, and the fruit is edible. Its seeds are black with deep wavy grooves.

It grows best in light shade, with consistently damp soil; it is tolerant of other light conditions, but not of arid environments. It can thrive indoors if tended appropriately. It is most readily propagated by dividing its root stock and replanting. Given the flowers' proximity to the ground, it has been speculated that its principal pollinator is a small rodent-like marsupial, but there is no hard evidence of this.