Plants annual, autotrophic, at least partly green. Rhizomes absent. Roots filiform. Stems usually unbranched, green. Leaves cauline, sometimes basal, green, purplish, or pale, scalelike to linear. Inflorescences 2-25-flowered cymes or flowers solitary; floral bracts sometimes appearing imbricate if internodes of cyme rachis are very short; pedicels 0-1 mm. Flowers erect, 3-ribbed to 3-winged; perianth persistent in fruit; annulus absent; stamens 3, proximal to inner perianth lobes, sessile; ovary 3-locular; placentation axile. Capsules obovoid to ellipsoid, transversely dehiscent.
Ovary and perianth-tube 3-angled or 3-winged, the 3 outer perianth- lobes well developed, the inner minute or lacking; anthers 3, sessile in the throat of the perianth- tube; style slender, 3-lobed; ovary trilocular; capsule irregularly dehiscent, crowned by the persistent perianth; mycotrophic, chlorophyllous or (ours) achlorophyllous herbs with scale- like or linear lvs and solitary, capitate, or cymose fls. 60, warm reg.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.