Vines with branching annual shoots from a fleshy rhizome. Leaves fleshy. Inflorescence an axillary raceme or spike, simple or branched; bracteoles 4, in 2 pairs appressed to the base of the perianth, the lower pair small, upper pair larger and sepaloid or petaloid; tepals shortly connate and enclosing the ovary at the base, widely spreading at anthesis, thickening and enveloping the ovary in fruit; stamen filaments dilated at base; style shallowly to deeply 3-fid. Fruit globose, enveloped by the thickened perianth segments; pericarp fleshy; seed lentiform.
5–10 species from southern North America to South America; 1 naturalised in Australia.