Herbs annual or biennial. Root stout, tuberlike, and napiform or fusiform, or branched and not tuberlike. Stem erect, ± branched, ribbed, striate. Basal leaves long petiolate; petiole stout, abaxially convex, adaxially flattened or slightly concave; leaf blade oblong, 20-30 × 10-15 cm, adaxially crisped, sublustrous, abaxially with strongly protruding veins, base cuneate, truncate, or slightly cordate, margin entire or undulate, apex obtuse. Cauline leaves alternate, smaller than basal ones; leaf blade ovate or lanceolate-oblong, base gradually narrowed into petiole, apex attenuate. Flowers 2- or 3-glomerulate. Perianth united at base; segments linear or narrowly oblong, becoming leathery and incurved in fruit. Utricle basally sunken into perianth, distally subsucculent. Seed red-brown, sublustrous, lenticular, 2-3 mm in diam.; perisperm farinaceous. Fl. May-Sep, fr. Jul.
Roots fibrous or fleshy. Leaves: petiole 1/2-2/3 or equaling blade length; blade dark red to green, usually with pronounced midrib, somewhat fleshy. Inflorescences cymes, 1-8-flowered, interrupted towards base. Perianth urn-shaped; segments 3-5 × 2-3 mm; receptacle pelviform. Achenes 5-11 per cluster, 3-5 mm. Seeds 1.5-2 mm.