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Thickly rhizomatous herbs, hairy or glabrous. Leaves radical, often petiolate, linear to broadly elliptic. Inflorescences racemes or spikes, sometimes head-like, many- to few-flowered. Flowers with the tepals united in a very short to elongate tube. Stamens free, inserted at the mouth of the perigone-tube. Fruits fleshy, indehiscent or irregularly dehiscent, often with a persistent beak.


Asia-Tropical, tropics present
About 20 species in the tropics; in Malesia 5 indigenous species and 1 variety; perhaps one species cultivated.