Plants small, annual or perennial, densely tufted, often of moss-like habit, some species forming cushions. Leaves radical or densely distichous on short, branched stems, narrowly linear, canaliculate, provided with a broadly membranous, sometimes apically auricled, mostly 1-nerved sheath. Scape simple, accrescent, the base surrounded with 1 to 3 sheath-like, hyaline, reduced leaves. Inflorescences terminal, head- or spikelet-like, 2—3-bracteate (in some extra-Mal. genera ~-bracteate); bracts distichous, each enclosing 1 to 11 flowers. Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual, usually subtended by 1 to 3 hyaline glumes; sometimes a few barren and reduced. Perianth none. Stamens 1 to 2; filament(s) filiform; anther(s) dorsifixed, versatile, oblong or linear, 1- to 2-celled, introrse, lengthwise dehiscing. Carpels 1 to many, superior, connate or free, collateral or superposed in 1 or 2 rows; styles free or connate at the base; stigmas linear and simple. Ovule solitary and pendulous from the apex in each carpel, orthotropous. Fruiting carpels resembling enlarged carpels, in the case of 2 collateral carpels resembling an ovary (fruit); pericarp membranous; carpels or cells dehiscent lengthwise with a lateral (outward) slit or more rarely with 2 loculicidal valves. Seed minute, ovoid or ellipsoid, areolate, with farinaceous albumen. Distribution. Genera 5, with about 30 spp., chiefly distributed in Australia and New Zealand, a few in Malaysia (2 genera with 4 species), southeastern Asia and South America. Fig. 2.