Herbs, perennial (D. armeria annual or biennial), sometimes mat-forming. Taproots stout, rhizomes (when present) slender or stout. Stems erect or ascending, simple or branched, terete or angled. Leaves connate proximally into sheath, petiolate (basal leaves) or sessile; blade 1-veined, linear or oblong to ovate, apex acute. Inflorescences terminal, open cymes, dense bracteate clusters or heads, or flowers solitary; bracts paired, herbaceous to scarious, or absent; involucel bracteoles 1-3 pairs, herbaceous or scarious. Pedicels erect in fruit. Flowers: sepals connate proximally into tube, 10-22 mm, tube green or reddish, 20-60-veined, ± cylindric, terete, commissures between sepals absent, lobes green or reddish, 3-8-veined, triangular to lanceolate, shorter than tube, margins white or reddish, mostly scarious, apex acute or obtuse; petals often pink or red, sometimes white or purple, sometimes spotted or with darker center, clawed, auricles absent, coronal appendages absent, blade apex dentate or fimbriate to 1/ 2 of length; nectaries at filament bases; stamens 10, adnate with petals to carpophore; filaments distinct; staminodes absent; ovary 1-locular; styles 2, filiform, 0.7-6 mm, glabrous proximally; stigmas 2, linear along adaxial surface of styles, papillate (30×). Capsules ovoid to cylindric, opening by 4 teeth; carpophore present. Seeds 40-100+, blackish brown, shield-shaped, dorsiventrally compressed, papillose-striate to papillate, marginal wing absent, appendage absent; embryo central, straight. x = 15.
Fls solitary or in open or capitate cymes; cal subtended by 1-3 pairs of bracts, cylindric, with 20 or more nerves; pet 5, without auricles or appendages; stamens 10; styles 2; capsule dehiscent by 4 teeth; seeds disciform, concave-convex, the hilum at the center of the concave surface; embryo straight; annual to perennial herbs. 300, Old World.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.