Description from Flora of China
Herbs perennial, rhizomatous, monopodial. Rhizome usually ascending, rarely creeping, thick, stout, sometimes slightly woody. Stem very short. Leaves basal, alternate fasciculate or distichous equitant, distinctly petiolate or not; leaf blade narrowly lanceolate to ovate. Scape axillary. Inflorescence a terminal spike, 2- to many flowered, without sterile bracts apically; bracts deltoid to ovate, usually shorter than flowers. Perianth segments 6 or 8, connate for 1/2--2/3 their length into a tube, fleshy; lobes spreading. Stamens 6 or 8; filaments nearly wholly adnate to perianth tube; anthers positioned lower than stigma, dorsifixed. Ovary 3- or 4-loculed; ovules 2 per locule. Style 1, cylindric, 4--12 mm; stigma peltate to mushroom-shaped, 2--7 mm in diam., fleshy. Fruit a berry, 1-seeded.
The syntype specimens of Tupistra cavaleriei H. Léveillé can be identified as Amischotolype hispida (A. Richard) D. Y. Hong (Commelinaceae). Tupistra esquirolii H. Léveillé & Vaniot is referable to Curculigo capitulata (Loureiro) Kuntze (Amaryllidaceae). The identity of Tupistra bambusifolia H. Léveillé & Vaniot and T. bambusifolia var. rubromaculosa H. Léveillé & Vaniot (in H. Léveillé, Mem. Pontif. Accad. Romana Nuovi Lincei 24: 349. 1906) remains uncertain. The types, from Guizhou, have not been seen by the present authors but were said by McKean (Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 44: 176. 1986) to resemble Zingiber pleiostachyum K. Schumann (Zingiberaceae), which is endemic to Taiwan.
Fourteen species: Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim, Thailand, Vietnam; four species (three endemic) in China.
(Authors: Liang Songyun (梁松筠 Liang Song-jun); Minoru N. Tamura)