The inflorescence and floral development of Caldesia grandis Samuel is reported for the first time in this paper. The basic units of the large cymo-thyrsus inflorescence are short panicles that are arranged in a pseudowhorl. Each panicle gives rise spirally to three bract primordia also arranged in a pseudowhorl. The branch primordia arise at the axils of the bracts. Each panicle produces spirally three bract primordia with triradiate symmetry (or in a pseudowhorl) and three floral primordia in the axils of the bract primordia. The apex of the panicle becomes a terminal floral primordium after the initiations of lateral bract primordia and floral primordia. Three sepal primordia are initiated approximately in a single whorl from the floral primordium. Three petal primordia are initiated alternate to the sepal primordia, but their subsequent development is much delayed. The first six stamen primordia are initiated as three pairs in a single whorl and each pair appears to be antipetalous as in other genera of the Alismataceae. The stamen primordia of the second whorl are initiated trimerously and opposite to the petals. Usually, 9–12 stamens are initiated in a flower. There is successive transition between the initiation of stamen and carpel primordia. The six first-initiated carpel primordia rise simultaneously in a whorl and alternate with the trimerous stamens, but the succeeding ones are initiated in irregular spirals, and there are 15–21 carpels developed in a flower. Petals begin to enlarge and expand when anthers of stamens have differentiated microsporangia. Such features do not occur in C. parnassifolia. In the latter, six stamen primordia are initiated in two whorls of three, carpel primordia are initiated in 1–3 whorls, and there is no delay in the development of petals. C. grandis is thus considered more primitive and C. parnassifolia more derived. C. grandis shares more similarities in features of floral development with Alsma, Echinodorus, Luronium and Sagittaria. © 2002 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2002, 140, 39–47.