Small to moderate, solitary or clustered, armed or unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem subterranean to erect, generally not tall, obscured by remains of leaf bases, eventually becoming bare, marked with close leaf scars. Leaves pinnate, small to large, arching; sheaths tubular at first, disintegrating into a fibrous network, often densely tomentose; petiole short to long, channelled or flat adaxially, rounded or angled abaxially, proximally unarmed and bearing scattered fibres or armed with coarse spines decreasing in size distally until represented by short teeth, variously caducously scaly or glabrous, often glaucous; rachis usually curved, adaxially angled or flattened, rounded or flattened abaxially; leaflets single-fold, usually numerous, regularly arranged, held stiffly in the same plane, linear, acuminate, acute, obtuse or asymmetrical at the tips, frequently glaucous, usually with crowded ramenta on the abaxial surface of the main vein near the rachis, transverse veinlets obscure. Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, shorter than the leaves, branching to 1 order, apparently protandrous; peduncle ± rounded in cross-section, short to long, ± glabrous or with scattered caducous scales; prophyll short, flattened, tubular, 2-keeled, usually hidden by the leaf sheaths, becoming fibrous with age, splitting at the tip, persistent; peduncular bract inserted near the prophyll, much longer, tubular, enclosing the inflorescence until shortly before anthesis, tightly sheathing proximally, beaked distally, splitting longitudinally along the abaxial face to expose the flowers, expanding distally and becoming cowl-like, smooth or becoming longitudinally striate with age, adaxially glabrous, abaxially glabrous, scaly, or very densely tomentose; rachis shorter or longer than the peduncle, bearing spirally arranged, relatively few to very numerous rachillae, each subtended by an inconspicuous triangular bract; rachillae rather stiff, ± zigzag, glabrous or minutely dotted, with a short to long, basal, bare portion, above which bearing few to numerous, spirally arranged triads proximally, paired or solitary staminate flowers distally, the distal-most rachillae sometimes entirely staminate, the flower groups close or relatively distant, superficial; rachilla bracts and floral bracteoles inconspicuous. Staminate flowers sessile or briefly pedicellate, slightly asymmetrical; sepals 3, distinct or joined at the base, narrow, triangular, membranous, ±keeled, acute; petals 3, distinct, or very briefly connate at the base, valvate, at least 3 times as long as the sepals, ± fleshy, ovate to triangular; stamens 6, filaments distinct, awl-shaped, elongate, anthers elongate, medifixed, versatile, basally sagittate, introrse; pistillode shorter than the filaments, trifid. Pollen ellipsoidal, frequently elongate, usually with either slight or obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate and micro-channelled, or perforate-rugulate, aperture margin may be slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 38–57 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetrahedral, occasionally tetragonal, or rarely, rhomboidal [4/9]. Pistillate flowers much larger than the staminate, globose to ovoid, ± symmetrical; sepals 3, distinct, broadly imbricate, coriaceous, somewhat keeled, triangular, the tips conspicuously hooded; petals 3, ± the same length as and similar to the sepals, distinct, broadly imbricate, the tips briefly valvate; staminodal ring well developed as a free, fleshy collar surrounding the base of the ovary, irregularly minutely lobed; gynoecium ± ovoid, trilocular, triovulate, stigmas 3, conspicuous, reflexed at anthesis, ovules hemianatropous, laterally attached to the ventral angles of the locules, septal canals present, opening at the bases of the stigmas. Fruit 1–3-seeded, spherical, oblate, or ovoid, yellow, brown, or purplish, with a short to long beak and apical stigmatic remains; epicarp smooth, mesocarp thin to thick, pulpy or fleshy, sometimes sweet, fibrous, endocarp thick, bony, with 1–3 developed cavities, the pores lateral below the equator or subbasal. Seed basally attached, conforming to the shape of the endocarp cavities, endosperm homogeneous, solid; embryo opposite the endocarp pore. Germination and eophyll not recorded. Cytology: 2n = 32.