Description from Flora of China
Herbs, mostly perennial, less frequently annual or biennial, very rarely subshrubs. Leaves opposite, or sometimes whorled, simple, entire or toothed, pinnatifid to pinnatisect. Inflorescences of compact cymes forming a terminal, involucral head, or diffuse and paniculiform (Triplostegia). Flowers bisexual, nearly always subtended by 1 or 2 cupular, apically toothed or subentire involucels (epicalyx); receptacle hairy or naked. Calyx usually small, cupular, or 4- or 5-segmented, or with up to 10 teeth or setae. Corolla sympetalous, 5(or 4)-lobed, ± irregular. Stamens 4, rarely 2 or 3, inserted at summit of corolla tube; anthers 4-sporangiate, opening by longitudinal slits. Gynoecium of 2 carpels, but 1 carpel obsolete; ovary inferior, 1-loculed; ovule solitary, apical, pendulous; style slender; stigma entire or 2-fid. Fruit an achene, enclosed by involucel and crowned by persistent calyx.
He Shi-yuan, Hsing Chi-hua & Yin Tsu-tang. 1986. Dipsacaceae. In: Lu An-ming & Chen Shu-kun, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 73(1): 44-84.
Ten genera and ca. 250 species: Africa, Asia, Europe; four genera and 17 species (four endemic) in China.
(Authors: Hong Deyuan (洪德元), Ma Liming (马黎明)1; Fred R. Barrie)