Clumping annual or perennial herbs mostly from damp areas. Leaves linear, basal and with a sheathing base. Flower clusters in spikes or branched. Flowers bisexual, irregular, usually with spathe-like bracts. Perianth segments 4 in 2 whorls of 2, sometimes hairy. Stamen 1, anther twisted or straight. Ovary superior with 1-3 chambers. Fruit a loculicidal 3-valved capsule, or berry-like with numerous seeds.
Most closely related to Pontederiaceae but also related to Haemodoraceae.
Perianth of 4 petal-like segments in 2 whorls; stamen 1.
4 genera and 6 species from SE Asia to Australia. Australia has 2 genera and 5 species occurring in all States except South Australia.
Source: (2005). Philydraceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.