Bulbous perennial herbs. Bulbs often with long neck. Leaves perennial or annual, basal, linear, often thread-like. Inflorescence a scapose umbel, enclosed in bud by a spathe of 2 membranous bracts. Flowers bisexual, usually slightly zygomorphic, pedicellate; perianth fused in basal part into a short tube, spreading above, usually with crisped margins; stamens 6, basally fused to floral tube, filaments filiform, anthers dorsifixed, versatile, dehiscing introrsely, sometimes with basal appendages; ovary inferior, 3-locular; ovules usually 4 per locule; style filiform, stigma capitate. Fruit a capsule; seeds 1–many.
About 25 species, in Southern Africa; 4 species naturalized in Australia.