Tufted, sometimes shortly rhizomatous or tuberous, perennial or annual herbs. Roots fibrous to fleshy. Leaves, linear, fleshy, often dilated and sheathing at base. Inflorescence a scapose raceme. Flowers yellow, bisexual, pedicellate; pedicels articulate; perianth segments free or very shortly fused at base, 1-nerved; stamens 6, filaments filiform, all or inner 3 hairy, anthers dorsifixed; ovary superior, trilocular; ovules 2–8 per locule; style filiform, stigma minute, capitate or 3-lobed. Fruit a loculicidally dehiscent capsule; seeds angular, black, brown or grey.
About 50, species predominantly in Africa; 5 species (all endemic) in Australia, 5 in Victoria.