While the species is common in the wet tropics of north-eastern Queensland, south of this region it occurs only as disjunct isolated populations, which may be relics of previous favourable climatic conditions.
The only known population in New South Wales comprises one plant that is not currently reproducing. Because of this rarity it is considered as Endangered in New South Wales. Threats include the small population size, fire, inappropriate collection, site visitation and displacement by exotic plants.
The starchy rhizomes are edible after long processing to remove toxins. It is also used to flavour rice and to produce an intoxicating alcoholic drink.
The individuals at Mount Annan are just babies, the oldest planted in 2000, but they can live for decades. There is a plant in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney which was planted in 1969 and is still going strong.