Small annual or perennial herbs with an indumentum of long, adpressed or spreading hairs, sometimes forming fleecy balls in axils of leaves or flowers; hairs mostly barbellate. Leaves well-developed, alternate, linear, flat-semi-terete, sessile-subsessile, entire. Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual, (pistillate), ebracteate, sometimes hidden in thick balls of hairs, solitary or several in upper leaf axils, spikes or panicles. Perianth 5-lobed, sometimes scarious, pubescent-long hairy, persistent, enlarging as a spine, protuberance or a tubercle. Stamens (3-) 5, exserted; thecae broad oblong, without appendages. Ovary broad ovoid. Style with 2-3 papillose apical arms. Fruit rounded, horizontal or sometimes vertical, apparent or hidden in dense ball of hairs. Embryo horse-shoe-shaped.