Bulbous perennial herbs; bulb perennial, ovoid to globose, composed of numerous free scales, progressively renewed annually. Leaves annual, basal, often somewhat succulent. Inflorescence a scapose raceme or corymb, 1–many-flowered. Flowers bisexual, each subtended by a bract or ebracteate; perianth segments usually blue or purple, subequal, free, 1-nerved; stamens 6, inserted at base of perianth, and not exceeding it, filaments filiform to flattened, anthers dorsifixed, dehiscing introrsely by slits; ovary superior, 3-locular, ovules 1–10 per locule; style simple, stigma capitate. Fruit a loculicidal capsule; seeds globose to ellipsoid.
About 50 species in the Mediterranean region, south west Asia and Africa, 2 species naturalised in Australia, 1 naturalised in Victoria.