Perennials from a stout tough rhizome or rarely slender annuals; leaves and scapes frequently hairy. Leaves in a basal rosette, linear, spongy. Scapes few, unbranched, many-ribbed, arising from the leaf axils; sheaths obliquely slit, the limb acute. Capitulum globose or flattened; involucral bracts in several imbricate series, coriaceous with scarious margins, innermost sometimes radiating beyond the periphery of the white-hairy floral disc; floral bracts and flowers embedded in a woolly cushion of long receptacular hairs; floral bracts filiform with expanded hairy tips; flowers trimerous, pedicellate. Male flowers: sepals usually membranous, oblanceolate-oblong, concave, free or basally connate; petals connate into a fleshy infundibular tube with shallowly 3-lobed upper margin and basal stipe, petal-bases sometimes free, forming slits in petal-tube, 3 epipetalous glands towards the top within; stamens 6, arising from base of petal-tube; anthers yellowish, exserted above the petal-tube rim at anthesis, later retracted inside; vestigial gynoecium present. Female flowers: sepals free, resembling the male sepals, caducous; petals free at the base around the ovary, connate above into a fleshy cylindrical tube or sometimes free to the middle, equalling or longer than the sepals, glabrous or villous both outside and within, 3 linear brownish glands inserted about 2/3 up on the inside, petal-tube thinner above the level of gland insertion, densely white-pilose at tip. Seeds subglobose, brown, densely covered in white hair-like projections.