Suffruticose shrubby or herbaceous perennials, with an indumentum of simple eglandular and glandular hairs, varied in habit: caespitose, chasmo-phytic, shrubby, scrambling, prostrate to erect herbs. Not aromatic. Leaves undivided, linear to broadly ovate, entire to serrate, at least lower petiolate. Inflorescence condensed or lax, spike-like or racemose; flowers solitary in axils of upper leaves, bract-like leaves or small flat bracts, or subtended by large thin-textured cucullate bracts, secund or borne in four-sided inflorescences. Pedicels terete or flattened. Calyx bilabiate with entire broad, rounded lips; upper lip folded midway along its length producing a somewhat erect sail-like structure called a scutellum which is sometimes membranous- inflated or is absent; fruiting calyx dorso-ventrally compressed, somewhat enlarged, closed at mouth, upper lip usually deciduous, lower persisting; if scutellum absent upper lip of testudinate* shape. Corolla bilabiate, showy, of various colours or combinations of colours, white, yellow, pink, purple or violet, ± sigmoid, erect or spreading; tube long, clearly exserted beyond calyx, often slender somewhat wider above, exannulate within; lips short, upper plicate; lower lip broad large, glabrous, lateral lobes often attached to upper lip. Stamens 4, included under upper lip of corolla, didynamous, anterior longer than posterior; thecae bearded or ciliate, anterior pair unilocular with an aborted theca, posterior bilocular with converging thecae. Style with 2 unequal branches. Nutlets ovoid, tuberculate, borne on a peg-like gynophore, papillose or smooth, glabrous or with a prominent indumentum of spreading or adpressed hairs.