Herbs perennial, aquatic. Rhizomes branched, repent, forming swollen terminal storage tubers late in growing season. Leaves arising from rhizome, alternate, emersed or floating, long petiolate; leaf blade centrally peltate, veins radially extended. Flowers solitary, axillary, long pedunculate, bisexual, hypogynous, actinomorphic, entomophilous, borne above water surface. Tepals numerous, distinct, outermost reduced, inner ones larger and petaloid. Stamens numerous; anthers dehiscent by longitudinal slits. Pistils numerous, simple, separately and loosely embedded in cavities on flattened top of receptacle. Ovary 1-loculed; ovule 1, pendulous; styles very short; stigmas capitate. Fruit nutlike, indehiscent. Seeds without endosperm and perisperm; embryo large; cotyledons 2, fleshy.
One genus and two species: E and S Asia, N Australia, Central and North America; one species in China.
Kuan Ke-chien. 1979. Nymphaeaceae subfam. Nelumboideae. Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 27: 3–5.