Perennial herbs or shrubs with rigid but not stinging hairs. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules lateral, free. Inflorescences axillary, consisting of outer staminate flowers and inner pistillate ones, all enclosed in a greenish involucre of 3-6 bracts, fleecy on upper (inner) surface and often villose on lower surface (rarely pistillate flowers alone in a 2-bracted involucre). Staminate flowers numerous, with perianth tubular below and dilated above, entire or obtusely 3-dentate or 3-lobed; stamen 1 in each flower. Pistillate flowers few, naked. Ovary 1-ovuled, ellipsoidal, straight, fleecy, with linear-filiform, hairy stigma. Achenes more or less compressed, fleecy. Seeds with scanty endosperm and rounded, somewhat notched, cotyledons.