Description from Flora of China
Saribus Blume; Wissmannia Burret.
Stems solitary, often large and stout, usually rough with persistent leaf bases. Leaves 10-60, palmate or costapalmate, usually forming a dense crown; dead leaves often persisting as a skirt below crown; leaf sheaths open and often very fibrous, forming a mass of reddish brown, interwoven fibers; petioles spiny on margins, younger plants with more spines than older ones; hastula present; blades green or variously waxy or dull green, divided to ca. 1/2 their length or almost to base into many segments, these again split and sometimes pendulous at apices. Inflorescences borne among leaves, branched up to 5 orders, rarely an inflorescence consisting of 3 separate but equal branches arising from same prophyll; inflorescences covered with many sheathing bracts; flowers usually borne in small groups, bisexual with 6 stamens and 3 carpels; rarely plants functionally dioecious. Fruits bluish or variously colored, globose to ellipsoid, 1-seeded, usually borne on short stalks; endosperm homogeneous, with an irregular intrusion of seed coat; germination remote; eophylls undivided and lanceolate.
Thirty-three species: from NE Africa and India to Australia, New Guinea, the Pacific islands (Solomon Islands), north to the Philippines, China, and Japan; three species in China.