Perennial (in Victoria) or annual rosetted herbs, densely hairy. Rosette leaves much-clustered, petiolate, sheathing at base; cauline leaves alternate, sessile or shortly petiolate. Inflorescences terminal, with few–several simple or branched erect monochasial scorpioid cymes; bracts present or absent. Flowers pedicellate; sepals 5, connate basally, elongating with age; corolla regular, 5-lobed, more or less funnel-shaped, with spreading lobes, white, pink or blue, scales in throat saccate; stamens included in corolla-tube, anthers more or less sessile, each often with a mucro-like appendage; ovary 4-lobed, 4-celled, style short, inserted near base of ovary, stigma capitate. Fruit splitting into 4 mericarps, leaving a low convex gynobase; mericarps saucer-shaped to subglobose, densely covered with more or less equal barbed spines.
About 60 species, widespread from tropical to temperate zones; 3 species in Australia (1 naturalized).