Description from Flora of China
Herbs biennial. Roots fibrous. Rhizome absent. Leaves of 1st year arranged in a solitary, basal, dense rosette, alternate, linear to ovate, often with dull purple dots, apex usually cuspidate with a white, cartilaginous appendage to rarely softly obtuse or acuminate. Flowering stem solitary, arising from center of rosette in 2nd year; stem leaves alternate. Inflorescense terminal, a dense raceme or thyrse, narrowly pyramidal to cylindric in outline, with a distinct main axis and sometimes cymose lateral branches, many flowered, bracteate. Flowers bisexual, subsessile or pedicellate, 5-merous. Sepals usually shorter than petals. Petals subconnate at base, white, pink, or red, lanceolate. Stamens 2 × as many as petals, in 2 series. Nectar scales small. Carpels erect, free, stipitate, many ovuled. Styles slender. Follicles beaked at apex, many seeded.
Thirteen species: China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mongolia, Russia; eight species (one endemic) in China.