Large rhizomatous herb with stolons. Leaves borne in a spirally crowded mass, ensiform, usually with marginal spines, apex spinescent. Scape thick bearing erect flowers in large panicles. Perianth segments ± equalling the hypanthial tube. Stamens exserted; stigma 3-lobed; ovary inferior; seeds black, flattened.
A large and taxonomically complex genus consisting of c. 300 species, distributed in Southern USA and tropical S. America. Introduced and naturalized in many parts of Pakistan. Few species are cultivated in Punjab and Baluchistan for yielding fibres for domestic and small scale commercial purposes.