Perennial herbs possessing rhizomes or stolons. Leaves usually in basal rosettes, sometimes cauline, entire to variously incised or lobed, revolute, involute or conduplicate in bud. Scape usually present and elongating after anthesis. Flowers 5-merous, umbellate or in capitate heads, sometimes solitary or few by reduction, often heterostylous. Calyx persistent. Corolla salver-shaped or infundibuliform to sometimes ± campanulate; the tube straight and much exceeding the calyx, lobes entire or 2-fid. Stamens 5, included; anthers narrow oblong, obtuse, in pin-eyed flowers attached half way up the tube and in thrum-eyed ones near the throat of the corolla. Ovary superior, with indefinite ovules on a free central placentum. Style slender, stigma capitate and posessing prominent papillae in pin-eyed flowers. Capsule globose to tubular-cylindrical. Dehiscence by 5-10 apical teeth or irregular. Seeds many, ovoid-angular to subglobose or compressed dorsally, papillose, vesiculose or reticulate-vesiculose, sometimes ends flanged.