Small perennial herb, leaves and flowers annual; corm ± globose, outer layers hard and woody or membranous. Leaves 2–several, basal to cauline, ensiform to linear, flat or with midvein and margins thickened, and somewhat 2-grooved. Inflorescence with scape branched or unbranched; 1–many-flowered. Primary bracts herbaceous to membranous. Flowers erect, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, perianth tube usually as long as bracts, straight, usually cylindric, lobes subequal, the outer usually larger than the inner, spreading, oblong to obovate; stamens inserted on perianth tube, symmetric or asymmetrically arranged arranged on one side of the flower, equal or one shorter than others, anthers sub-basifixed; style filiform, 3-branched, branches entire, usually short, thread-like, usually extending beyond the stamens. Capsule globose to obovoid; seeds globose to angular.
About 80 species, all from Southern Africa; 1 species naturalised in Australia.