or perennial herbs or undershrubs. Leaves opposite, entire. Inflorescence a
long terminal spike with sessile flowers in stalked clusters, composed of 1-3
perfect flowers, deflexed after anthesis and few imperfect flowers reduced to
tepals with hooked awns. Flowers hermaphrodite, bracteate and bracteolate.
Bracts persistent, bracteoles sharply hooked spines. Perianth calycine,
scarious, 5-lobed. Stamens 5, filaments fused at the base into a small
hypogynous membranous cup. Fruit an ovoid utricle, enclosed in the perianth,
indehiscent. Seeds ovoid, slightly compressed.