Perennial herbs, subshrubs or shrubs, often thistle-like. Leaves basal or cauline, usually alternate, margins subentire, toothed, pinnatifid or pinnatisect, teeth spinescent. Capitula radiate, in terminal and/or axillary panicles of corymb-like clusters, or solitary; involucral bracts few-many-seriate, more or less connate at base, margins and tip often spiny, herbaceous; receptacle nearly flat, scaly. Ray florets ligulate, sterile, or absent; disc florets bisexual, sometimes inner ones functionally male, tubular, usually yellow; corolla deeply 5-lobed; anthers obtuse at apex, sagittate at base; style bilobed, branches linear, obtuse. Cypselas obovoid or turbinate, ribbed; pappus of many short or long scales, sometimes partly connate.
About 75 species, mostly in southern Africa, a few in tropical Africa; 1 species naturalised in Australia.