Annual, biennial or perennial herbs or subshrubs, rarely (not in Victoria) climbers; stem usually solitary, branched. Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, entire to pinnatisect. Capitula in terminal panicles or spicate in axillary clusters, few–many-flowered, sessile or pedunculate; involucre cylindric, bracts many-seriate, unequal, herbaceous with scarious margins, fringed at apex, free, imbricate, outer ones much smaller than inner; receptacle flat, naked, pitted. Florets ligulate, bisexual, yellow (in Victoria), or whitish to bluish; ligules linear to oblong, minutely 5-toothed; anthers tailed at base, with short subacute apical appendages; style bilobed, with linear, pubescent branches. Cypselas ovoid to obovoid, compressed, with narrow marginal ridges, faces 5–9-ribbed, with a pale filiform beak c. equal to body; pappus of many series of fine, more or less equal barbellate bristles.
About 75 species from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America; 3 species naturalised in Australia.