Perennial or annual herbs, rhizomatous or stoloniferous, often with red or orange sap, sometimes bulbous. Leaves usually basal, equitant, base sheathing; lamina narrowly linear, lanceolate, usually flat, or plicate (Wachendorfia), glabrous or pubescent. Inflorescence terminal, paniculate, racemose, or cymose, often with a number of cymes arranged racemosely. Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, bisexual; tepals 6, in 1 or 2 whorls, free or fused into a tube; stamens 3 or 6, free or fused to perianth; ovary superior to inferior, 3-locular with axile placentation; ovules 1–many per locule; style single. Fruit a 1–many seeded capsule.
14 genera, c. 100 species, centred in Australia and southern Africa; 7 genera and 84 species in Australia, 1 species naturalised in Victoria.
Many species in this family are grown in horticulture i.e. Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos and Macropidia).