Small, clustering, unarmed, pleonanthic, dioecious or polygamous palms. Stems slender, reed-like, erect, covered with persistent leaf sheaths, eventually becoming bare, conspicuously ringed with leaf scars. Leaves induplicate, palmate, marcescent, divided to the base or to ca. 3/4 the radius between the folds into several-ribbed segments, apices divided along and between the folds to form shallow teeth; sheath composed of numerous, interwoven, black or grey-brown fibres, when young bearing sparse, caducous brown indumentum; petiole elongate, slender, ± elliptic in cross-section, margins smooth; adaxial hastula small, ± triangular, sometimes tomentose, abaxial hastula absent; blade palmate to deeply bifid, segments usually variable in number of ribs, position of splits precise, usually at a position about 2/3 the width of the interfold nearer the abaxial fold, the segment margins minutely toothed, blade glabrous, transverse veinlets conspicuous. Inflorescences interfoliar, usually very short, branching to 1–2 orders in pistillate, up to 3 orders in staminate; peduncle short, frequently entirely enclosed by the leaf sheaths; prophyll tubular, 2-keeled, splitting along the abaxial midline; peduncular bracts absent; rachis longer than the peduncle, bearing 1–2 large, tubular, single-keeled bracts, distal rachis bracts much smaller; rachis bracts each subtending a first-order branch adnate to the axis above the bract node and bearing very inconspicuous, narrow triangular bracts subtending second-order branches; second-order branches adnate to the first-order branches; rachillae glabrous or hairy, lax, spreading in pistillate and polygamous inflorescences, more crowded in staminate, rachillae bearing spirally arranged, solitary or rarely paired flowers in the axils of minute apiculate bracts. Staminate flowers symmetrical; calyx cup-shaped, thick, shallowly 3-lobed distally, the lobes somewhat irregular, triangular, glabrous or hairy; corolla fleshy, tubular, inserted above calyx and appearing ± stalked basally, the 3 lobes ± triangular, valvate, usually very short, sometimes ciliate at the margins; stamens 6, filaments elongate, but adnate along ± the entire length of the corolla tube, free at their very tip, anthers short, rounded, latrorse; pistillode minute, 3-lobed. Pistillate and distinct, wedge-shaped, each with a short apical style, distally expanded into a conduplicate, fimbriate, tube-shaped stigma, ovules basally attached, 1 in each carpel, hemianatropous, with a basal fleshy aril. Pollen ellipsoidal, usually with slight to obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, coarsely perforate, aperture margin slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 21–40 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetrahedral [2/8]. Fruit usually developing from 1 carpel with apical stigmatic remains, more rarely 2 or 3 carpels developing, sometimes the stalk-like corolla base persisting and becoming a sub-woody fruit stalk; epicarp becoming purplish-brown or white, mesocarp fleshy, somewhat fibrous, endocarp thin, brittle. Seed with short lateral raphe, endosperm homogeneous, laterally penetrated by the seed coat; embryo subbasal or lateral. Germination remote-tubular; eophyll entire, slender, strap-shaped, plicate. Cytology: 2n = 36, 4n = 72.