The genus takes its name from the Greek words epi (on) and premnon (trunk), in allusion to its climbing stems. The Latin epithet aureum (golden) refers to its leaves, which are generally green with yellow spots or streaks. Its common name derives from the genus Pothos in which it was long classified.
Like most of the genus (with about 40 species), they are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and the Pacific, generally with epiphytic and/or climbing behaviour. This particular species forms lianas, up to 20 m long, with stems up to 4 cm thick. Its leaves, usually less than 20 cm, can reach 100x45 cm in optimal conditions.
It is very popular as a hardy, low-maintenance houseplant. There are varieties and cultivars that vary in leaf shapes and variegated colouring. It is sometimes confused with some Philodendron species in florists' shops (especially Philodendron hederaceum var. oxycardium), and contains high concentrations of calcium oxalate, a potent poison.
It is one of the species selected by NASA in its Clean air study for its ability to remove toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene and xylene from the atmosphere.