Perennial herbs; stem elongated, comprised of leaf sheaths. Leaves numerous, alternate, ligule distinct. Inflorescence a many-flowered spike, terminal on leafy shoots; bracts free, imbricate or lax. Flowers 1–6 per bract; bracteoles tubular. Caylx tube usually split on one side; corolla tube slender, lobes ± equal, reflexed; labellum conspicuous, apex 2-lobed, lateral staminodes petaloid; stamen long, slender, not crested; ovary 3-locular with axile placentation. Fruit a loculicidal capsule.
About 50 species, mostly native to the Himalayas; 2 species naturalised in Australia, 1 naturalised in Victoria.