Perennial herbs, sometimes subtuberous. Leaves 1–3 times ternately divided. Inflorescence cymose, sometimes a dichasium. Flowers bisexual; sepals 5, petaloid, free; petals 5, free, erect and more or less flat above the point of attachment, with a descending, tubular to conical nectar-secreting spur below; stamens numerous, the innermost usually sterile with broadened scarious filaments; carpels usually 5, free, with several to numerous ovules each. Fruit a head of follicles opening along the inner face.
About 70 species, from temperate Northern Hemisphere countries; widely grown for ornament and many cultivars and hybrids are known, 1 species naturalised in Australia.