Shrubby or coarse, xerophytic herbs. Leaves in tufts, large, basal or at the ends of branches, broad-linear, sometimes fleshy and fibrous. Flowers bisexual, regular, in racemes or panicles which may be head-like. Perianth segments 6, connate into a tube. Stamens 6, adnate to the perianth basally. Ovary superior or inferior, 3-locular, with numerous ovules on axile placentas; style 3-fid. Fruit a capsule. 23 gen., mainly drier trop. and subtrop., few temp.