Tubers stalked or not, elongate to globose, bearing superficial rootlets (sometimes armed). Stems twining to left or right, with or without recurved prickles, axillary bulbils often present. Dioecious. Male flowers borne singlyor in clusters on spikes; spikes aggregated along ± leafless axes, axes axillary and terminal, or in axillary fascicles; flowers globose to cup shaped, commonly sessile, subtended by a bract and a bracteole; anthers dehiscing laterally; pistillode minute, commonly 3-pointed. Female flowers sessile on axillary spikes; ovary 3-loculed, 3-angled, narrowly ellipsoid, locules each with 2 ovules, style short, stout; stigmatic ridges 3, sometimes ± falcate. Capsule broadly 3-winged, shortly stipitate, dehiscing from apex, sometimes reflexed. Seeds 2 per locule, compressed, winged-wing basal and oblong or ± surrounding seed.
Commonly herbaceous, twining perennials arising from tubers. Leaves alternate or opposite, petiolate, simple or palmate. inflorescent axillary, commonly spikes or racemes. Flowers usually unisexual, tepals 6 in two similar or dissimilar whorls, ± free. Stamens 6, or 3+3 staminodes, attached to base of tepals, anthers with 2 longitudinally dehiscing locules. Ovary inferior, 3-loculed, ovules axile. Fruit a capsule.
Tubers. Plant hairy hairs simple, greyish-white. Stems sometimes prickly, densely appressed hairy, or subglabrous , bulbils usually present. Leaves (3- or)5-foliolate, rugose in life; leaflets, middle largest with 1 strong midbid, narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, cuspidate, narrowed to sessile base, 7-13 x 2.5-4.3cm, densely white-bristly above and beneath or larger 8.2-19 x 3.3-6.8cm, subglabrous beneath, distinctly petiolulate (0.3-0.5cm); petiole 5-6cm. Male inflorescent: spikes borne singly or in pairs on branched axes 15-49cm,axes hairy, sometimes bearing small leaves, borne singly in axils; spikes dense, greyish-white hairy, 1.2-3 x 0.2cm, exceeding peduncles even in bud; bracts ovate, cuspidate, clasping, brown, hairy, exceeding flowers. Male flowers: globose, usually sessile, borne singly, sepals lanceolate, acute, 1-1.3 x 0.5-0.8mm, brown, hairy; petals narrowly oblanceolate, rounded, 0.9-1.2 x 0.8-0.9mm, brown, glabrous; anthers 3, 0.3mm, exceeding filaments; staminodes 3; pistillode columinar, exceeding stamens. Female spikes in 2s or 3s, slender, bearing flowers in upper part. Female flowers: sepals lanceolate, acute, 2x0.9mm, with scattered bristles; petals glabrous; ovary densely appressed reddish- or whitish-hairy. Capsules reflexed, oblong in outline, subtruncate, 2-2.4cm; wings 0.6-0.7cm wide; seeds 0.3x0.4cm, wing 1-1.3 x 0.5-0,6cm, oblong, basal.