Large perennial herb, leaves and flowers annual; corm depressed globose, with outer layers coarsely fibrous. Leaves ensiform, tough, fibrous, glabrous. Inflorescence straight, erect, spike-like, with long scape; flowers many, distichous. Perianth actinomorpic or zygomorphic; tube slender basally, abruptly widened distally; stamens orientated to one side of the flower, anthers linear, sub-basifixed and versatile; style thread-like with 3 recurved, divided branches. Capsule woody, globose to cylindric; seeds oblong, winged.
About 70 species in southern Africa and Madagascar Is. Many species and their hybrids are cultivated in Australia as garden ornamentals; several species are naturalised in Australia, 5 of them in Victoria.