They are dwarf, ribbed, globose or cylindrical plants; and the flowers, which are produced from the side instead of the apex of the stem, are large, and in some cases very beautiful, being remarkable for the length of the tube, which is more or less covered with bristly hairs.
The style is simple or branched, and the stigma is linear, capitate or globose in form; these variations afford means for distinguishing the different genera.
It has long, narrow, flat, obscurely keeled leaves, a deciduous spathe, and a globose umbel of whitish flowers, among which are small bulbils.
Gilia achilleaefolia: hardy, 2 ft., deep blue; in large globose heads.
Lyrata, is a large tree, chiefly found on swampy land in the southern states; the lyrate leaves are dilated at the end; the globose acorns are nearly covered by the tuberculated cups.
The species differ greatly in size and general appearance and in the character of the frond; the sori or groups of spore-cases (sporangia) are borne on the back of the leaf, are globose and naked, that is, are not covered with a membrane (indusium) (see fig.
The narrow, pointed leaves are spirally arranged and persist for four or five years; the cones are small, globose and borne at the ends of the branchlets, the scales are thickened at the extremity and divided into sharply pointed lobes, three to five seeds are borne on each scale.
The flowers are large and white, and are succeeded by very large globose fruits like oranges, but paler in colour, and with a more pungent flavour.