Evergreen shrubs or small trees. Leaves whorled, often linear and appearing terete due to revolute margins. Flowers 4(–5)-merous, in terminal umbels or racemes or in axillary clusters, sometimes appearing as a leafy panicle; bracteoles 2–several; sepals free, shorter than corolla; corolla cylindric, globoid, campanulate or urceolate, the lobes usually shorter than the tube, persistent in fruit; stamens twice as many as perianth lobes, inserted between the lobes of a nectariferous disc; anthers with or without appendages. Fruit a loculicidal capsule.
Over 700 species, mainly from South Africa, but also other parts of Africa, Europe and Asia; commonly cultivated in Australia, with at least 8 species naturalised.