Deciduous or rarely evergreen; bulb small or large, subterranean or epigeal, globose, scales often relatively small and sometimes only loosely overlapping, flesh sometimes pink or reddish. Leaves 1 to several, often dry at flowering, linear to oblanceolate or terete, glabrous or rarely pubescent or the margins ciliate, erect to prostrate, the sheaths sometimes persistent and forming a papery or fibrous, sometimes horizontally barred sheath around base of scape. Inflorescence a single- to many-flowered raceme, sometimes subcorymbose with shortened axis, rarely branched, often wiry, glabrous or puberulous in lower part, the trichomes often in longitudinal rows; bracts usually small, membranous, at least the lower spurred; bracteoles lacking; pedicels erect to spreading, rarely deflexed at base and erect apically. Flowers short-lived, usually lasting less than a day, rarely 2 days, white to yellowish green or brown, often with darker keels, rotate to campanulate, unscented or rarely scented, erect to nodding but always erect in fruit; tepals free or united into a short or moderate tube, erect, spreading or recurved to reflexed, abscissing below and twisting above to form a cap over developing capsule; stamens erect, inflexed over ovary or spreading, filaments free, fused to tepals near base or higher, linear-lanceolate to ovate or vestigial, anthers dehiscing longitudinally or by apical pores or slits, sometimes shortly apiculate or barbed below; ovary ovoid; ovules several per locule; style cylindrical, erect or slightly declinate; stigma 3-grooved or slightly excavated. Capsule ovoid or ellipsoid and sometimes 3-lobed or 3-winged; seeds several per locule, angular to elliptic with a peripheral wing, black, testa loose, brittle.