Perennial rhizomatous herbs, sympodial. Stem erect. Leaves lateral, pseudoterminal, alternate, opposite or whorled, sessile or shortly petiolate, ovate-elliptic, linear to linear-lanceolate. Inflorescence axillary, umbellate, corymb or raceme-like or flower solitary; bracts present or absent. Flowers usually pendulous, rarely erect, bisexual, hypogynous; pedicels articulated at apex. Perianth segments 6, valvate, connate proximally, forming a tube. Corona absent. Stamens 6, adnate to perianth tube, anthers basifixed to dorsifixed, versatile. Pistil tricarpellary, syncarpous, trilocular, axile placentation. Fruit a berry, globose.
About 60 species, temperate parts of Eurasia and N. America, mainly from the Himalayas, China to Japan.