Tufted perennial rhizomatous herb. Roots fibrous, often fleshy or with tubers. Leaves linear to lanceolate. Inflorescence a racemose panicle. Flowers bisexual; pedicel articulate near middle; perianth segments 6, subequal, free, not twisting after anthesis, persistent, 3–5-nerved; stamens 6, filaments glabrous or slightly papillose, anthers basifixed, dehiscing introrsely; ovary superior, 3-locular, ovules 2–many per locule; style filiform, stigma minute, capitate. Fruit a 3-lobed loculicidal capsule; seeds ± flat, testa brown or black.
About 150 species throughout the Southern Hemisphere and India; 2 in Australia (1 native, 1 naturalised); 1 naturalised in Victoria.