Terrestrial, mostly perennial herbs. Stems often reduced. Leaves spiral, simple, often in a basal rosette, glandular hairs present; stipules often multilobed or absent. Inflorescence simple, sometimes branched, mostly bracteate. Flowers white, orange, pink, red or purple; calyx with inner surface glabrous; corolla more or less imbricate, veined; petals obovate to obovate-spathulate (after anthesis the petals tend to stick together with anthers and stigmas to form a hood over the ovary and capsule); styles free. Seeds ellipsoid or fusiform, black.
About 90 species distributed discontinuously throughout the world, the greatest diversity in Australia (c. 53 species).