Plants perennial, polygamous or dioecious, rhizomatous often arborescent. Stem short. Leaves usually crowded at the base of the stem, often succulent, entire, or with a prickly or toothed margin. Flowers bisexual or unisexual. Inflorescence racemose or paniculate, often on a thick scape. Perianth segments 6, free or united. Stamens 6, free, ± adnate to the perianth lobes. Anthers 2-locular, dorsifixed. Ovary superior or inferior, 3-locular. Placentation axile. Ovules 1-many in each loculus, sytperposed. Fruit a loculicidal capsule or berry. Seeds compressed.
Included in the Amaryllidaceae by some authors and Liliaceae by others, but best recognised as a separate family based mainly on the arborescent habit, absence of bulbous parts and a large paniculate or racemose inflorescence.