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 brownishglands inserted ± 2/3 up the inside, petal-tube thinner above level of gland insertion, densely white-pilose at tip
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 corolla-rim at anthesis, later retracted into petal-tube; vestigial gynoecium present
Seeds subglobose, brown, densely covered in white hair-like projections.
Leaves in a basal rosette, linear, spongy
Perennials from a stout tough rhizome or rarely slender annuals (annuals confined to West Africa); leaves and scapes frequently hairy
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