Hermaphroditic or andromonoecious (rarely diphasic or “sex-changing”, P. trifolius L.), unarmed, pubescent with simple hairs or glabrous, terrestrial, perennial herbs. Stems unbranched, leptocaulous; rhizomes short and upright, or horizontally elongated with thick and short internodes, or horizontally elongated with slender and elongated internodes and globose nodes. Main root carrot-like or slightly fusiform or globose in shape, often decayed in older plants of most species. Leaves 2–5, whorled at the apex of the stem, petiolate, the bases slightly enlarged, exstipulate or occasionally with lanceolate stipules; blades palmately compound with 3–7 leaflets; leaflets ovate, oblong, obovate, to lanceolate, membranaceous to chartaceous, the margins entire, serrate, dentate, or pinnately lobed; petiolulate or occasionally sessile. Inflorescences terminal, erect, simple umbellate or a cluster of a few umbels; bracts triangular to lanceolate; pedicels medium, slender, articulated. Calyx 5-toothed; petals 5, imbricate (quincuncial), free; stamens 5; carpels 2–3 (–5), ovaries inferior, styles basally connate; the disc flat or convex. Fruits drupes, glabrous, bright red or red with a black top; endocarp crustaceous. Endosperm uniform. 2n = 24, 48, occasionally 44.