Rhizomatous perennial herbs. Leaf shoots with few to many distichously arranged blades, the sheaths usually open on the side opposite the lamina, ligulate. Inflorescence terminal on the leaf shoot or borne on a separate leafless shoot. Flowers solitary in the axils of bracts or in cincinni, with or without bracteoles (secondary bracts). Calyx tubular. Corolla tube usually slender, divided into 3 subequal petals. Labellum (anterior staminodes) adnate at the base to the corolla tube, showy. Lateral staminodes petaloid (in the Pakistan plants), either free from the labellum or connate to it (Zingiber
). Fertile stamens one only, anther sometimes developing into an appendage (anther-crest). Style linear, held between the anther-thecae. Ovary inferior, usually trilocular with axile placentation. Epigynous glands (‘stylodes’) forming 2 erect outgrowths on top of the ovary. Fruit a dehiscent capsule. Seeds arillate.