Tufted, glabrous perennials. Roots tuberous-fleshy to fibrous. Leaves annual, linear, basal. Inflorescence a racemose panicle. Flowers bisexual, pedicellate; perianth segments subequal, free, twisting spirally after anthesis; stamens 6, filaments papillose, anthers basfixed; ovary superior, style filiform, stigma minute, capitate. Fruit a loculicidally dehiscent, 3-lobed capsule; seeds more or less globose, black, testa smooth, striate or granular, 1, rarely 2 per locule.
About 11 species, in Africa, Australia and New Guinea; 8 in Australia (7 endemic), 3 in Victoria.
Incomplete specimens are often difficult to identify, especially those lacking roots and seeds. There is wide character variation within many species.