Woody shrubs or trees to 10m with thick rhizomes and thick, somewhat fleshy roots. Stem leafy at the apices, woody with monocotyledonous secondary thickening. Leaves perennial, sessile or pseudopetiolate, conduplicate, sheathing, linearlanceolate
to broadly ovate. Flowers in terminal or lateral racemose or spicate panicles; pedicels not articulated; flowers single per node, subtended by several bracts; tepals free or united basally, white, pinkish, mauve-purple or dark purple-grey. Anthers introrse, free, medifixed, inserted on tepal bases, filaments hairless. Ovary small, ovoid; ovules 2-numerous per locule. Style shortly filiform; stigma capitate or trifid. Capsule ovoid, seeds few, rounded, black, smooth.