Bulbous perennial herbs. Roots fibrous. Leaves tufted, basal, linear, annual. Inflorescence a scapose raceme with the lower flowers bisexual and the upper sterile, each flower subtended by a membranous bract; perianth segments blue or purplish, fused for the greater part into an urceolate to globose corolla, shortly 6-lobed at apex; stamens 6, inserted on perianth, and not exceeding it, filaments terete, anthers basifixed, dehiscing by slits; ovary superior, 3-locular, ovules 2 per locule. Fruit an angular, loculicidal capsule; seeds 1 or 2 per locule, black.
About 30 species, from the Mediterranean region including northern Africa and western Asia; several cultivated in Australia, 3 naturalised to a limited extent.