Sometimes included in Liliaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Herbs. Perennial (leaves and inflorescence annual). Leaves basal. Plants with a basal concentration of leaves. Young stems erect and partly leafy. Cormous (globose). Leaves alternate; spiral, or distichous; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with free margins. Leaves simple. Leaf blades entire; linear to lanceolate, or ovate, or orbicular; ovate to linear; parallel-veined; without cross-venules; sheathing. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaf anatomy. Guard-cells not ‘grass type’. Hairs absent. Extra-floral nectaries absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. Inflorescences scapiflorous to not scapiflorous; terminal; inflorescence openly branched, to 40 cm tall. Flowers pedicellate (curved); bracteate (lanceolate); ebracteolate; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Perigone tube present (short), or absent. Perianth of ‘tepals’ (the members spreading or reflexed); 6; 2 -whorled; isomerous; petaloid; similar in the two whorls; white, or pink, or purple (lilac-purple). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 6. Androecial members adnate; all equal, or markedly unequal; free of one another to coherent (via shortly connate filament bases). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; all more or less similar in shape; diplostemonous; filantherous, or with sessile anthers. Anthers separate from one another, or connivent; basifixed; non-versatile; apically dehiscing via pores; introrse; appendaged, or unappendaged. The anther appendages apical, or basal, or apical and basal. Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 3 celled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; partly inferior. Ovary plurilocular; 3 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1; minutely 3 - lobed; small, capitate. Placentation axile. Ovules 20–50 per locule (numerous); in two rows; non-arillate; anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent (loculicidally, apical); a capsule. Capsules apically loculicidal. Fruit many seeded. Seeds endospermic; small. Embryo well differentiated. Testa encrusted with phytomelan.