Herbs with short rhizomes and fibrous or tuberous roots. Stem leafy at the base, enclosed by old leaf bases, or a leafless and branched erect or twining photosynthetic inflorescence. Leaves annual or perennial, sessile, supervolute, sheathing, linear.
Inflorescence annual or perennial. Flowers in pedunculate racemes, terminal umbels, cymose panicles or flowers solitary; pedicels articulated; flowers single per node, subtended by a single bract; tepals free, pale purple; outer teplas linear lanceolate, entire; inner tepals broadly ovate, margins fimbriate. Anthers 3 or 6, introrse, free, basifixed, dehiscing by terminal pores or longitudinal slits; filaments hairless. Ovary small, ovoid; ovules 2 per locule. Style filiform, straight or curved; stigma minutely capitate. Capsule ovoid, seeds ellipsoid, black, arillate.