|Abstract||Perennial herbs, with a short, often strong-smelling rootstock. Lowest leaves in a basal rosette, higher ones decussate, simple, odd-pinnate or deeply pinnatifid, exstipulate but those of one pair often connected by a raised line, radical ones often long-petioled. Flowers small, ♀ or unisexual, bracteate, sessile, cymose; cymes united into an often large, terminal panicle or corymb. Bracts small, opposite, persistent, oblong or linear, on the ultimate branchlets of the inflorescence only one bract of each pair flowerbearing. Calyx small, persistent; limb during anthesis short, inrolled, deeply divided into 10 or more segments, these in fruit unrolling, much accrescent, finally widely patent, plumose, pappuslike. Corolla gamopetalous, caducous after anthesis, small; tube funnel-shaped, much widened above the very short, narrow basal part, unequalsided; lobes 5, patent, oblong, imbricate in bud. Stamens 3, inserted about halfway down on the corolla-tube, alternating with the lobes, exserted or not; filaments thin; anthers small, versatile, 2-celled, ovalsuborbicular, or sub-biglobose, cells opening lengthwise. Ovary inferior, 3- celled, only one cell perfect, 1-ovuled, the two others barren or imperfect; ovule pendulous. Style thin, filiform, shortly 3-lobed or subentire, glabrous, exserted or not. Fruit small, dry, indehiscent, 1-seeded, ovate-oblong, much compressed, with 3 dorsal, 1 ventral, and 2 marginal ribs, 1-celled, the two barren or imperfect cells either enlarged or reduced to narrow ridges. Seed pendulous; albumen absent or scanty.|
Distr. Very many spp. centering in Andine Chile, the others nearly all on the N. hemisphere, scarce in the mountainous districts of the tropics, absent from Australia, in Malaysia only known from Central Sumatra and Java.