Perennial or annual subshrubs or herbs, mostly pubescent, with simple or branched hairs. Leaves alternate on branches and/or rosetted at base. Inflorescence a compact to elongate spike. Flowers bisexual, often brightly coloured, each subtended by a scarious bract and 2 bracteoles; perianth of 5 equal, stiff, linear segments, free or shortly fused near base, variously hairy on the outer surface except at the tips, glabrous or hairy within; stamens 5, but up to 3 reduced and sterile, fused into a membranous cup encircling the ovary and largely or wholly adnate to the perianth, occasionally the stamens alternating with staminode-like lobes; ovary usually shortly stipitate, 1-locular, 1-ovulate; style simple. Fruit a nut remaining enclosed by the persistent perianth.
Almost entirely Australian genus of c. 100 species (1 extending to southern Malaysia), chiefly of arid or semi-arid regions.