Perennial herbs, rarely shrubs, usually rhizomatous or tuberous, or with woody descending roots. Leaves basal, spirally arranged, petiolate; lamina usually palmately lobed or divided. Inflorescence a terminal cyme or umbel, or solitary flower; bracts (2–)3(–4) forming an involucre, subtending or distant from flowers. Flowers bisexual; perianth segments 4–20, petaloid; stamens numerous, shorter than perianth; carpels numerous, 1-ovulate. Achenes in a ± globular cluster, ovoid to obovoid, glabrous or hairy, with a persistent style beak.
About 120 species of cool-temperate and arctic regions; 2 species (1 endemic, 1 naturalised) in Australia.