Like other Eleutherine species, E. bulbosa has a bulbous rootstock; a large subapical cauline leaf; and small, white, stellate, evening-blooming flowers. E. bulbosa grows in southern Mexico and in the Amazon rainforest, within the borders of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, in addition to the Brazilian states of Amapá and Acre. It is widely cultivated for its medicinal properties.
Like E. latifolia, E. bulbosa has a basic chromosome number of x=6 (2n=12); it also has a similar bimodal karyotype, which is distinctive to this plant tribe (Tigridieae); all other genera of the tribe have x=7. Usually, E. bulbosa has a heteromorphic long chromosome pair, the result of a pericentric inversion in one of the long chromosomes, which makes it sexually sterile.
Rahenna described a subspecies in 1965: E. bulbosa subsp. citriodora.