Description from Flora of China
Stems usually solitary, sometimes basal shoots developing into new plants after main stem dies. Leaves to 20 or more, pinnate, leaf sheaths without knees, flagella, and ocreas, usually covered with distinctive spines and brownish or whitish hairs; sheath spines arranged in oblique rows of closely spaced spines joined to one another at their bases, resembling combs; rachis terminating in a long cirrus, with grapnel-like spines; pinnae irregularly (rarely regularly) arranged along rachis, usually spreading in different planes, green but more often grayish on abaxial surfaces. Plants dioecious, semelparous. Inflorescences 2-20 at a time at stem apex, produced and flowering together over a short period of time (stem dying after fruiting), usually branched to 2 orders, borne among much-reduced leaves, covered with overlapping bracts; rachillae pendulous, covered with boat-shaped, persistent bracts obscuring flowers; male flowers very fragrant, borne in pairs, densely crowded along short rachillae; female flowers solitary, fewer per flowering branch. Fruits brownish, globose, usually 1-seeded, covered with overlapping scales, tips sometimes recurved, giving fruit a spiny or fuzzy appearance; endosperm homogeneous; germination adjacent; eophylls undivided.
Sixteen species: Bhutan, Borneo, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia (Java, Sumatra), Laos, Malaysia (Peninsular), Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam; three species (one endemic) in China.