Herbs without chlorophyll, parasitic on roots through short haustorial appendages borne on tuberous brownish rhizomes. Aerial stem erect, up to 30 cm tall, fleshy, with many triangular-lanceolate leaves. Inflorescence club-shaped, terminal spadix-like with deltoid scaly bracts. Flowers male, female and rarely hermaphrodite. Perianth of (1-) 3-4 (-5-8) free or ± connate linear to cuneate segments; sometimes perianth is absent in pistillate flowers. Male flower: perianth segments mostly 1-5, stamen 1, anther 2-celled; ovary rudimentary. Female flower: perianth segments (0-)1-5, ovary inferior, unilocular, ovule 1, pendulous, style 1, broadened above. Hermaphrodite flowers rare or none. Fruit globose, 1-seeded.