Small to medium-sized annuals; rhizome absent. Leaves basal and cauline, ±flat, canaliculate or semiterete; dorsal epidermal cells dilated; ventral epidermal cells ±enlarged; usually with marginal sclerenchyma. Inflorescence terminal, cymose; flowers usually subsessile, borne singly or in few-flowered, mostly distal loose clusters; floral bracteoles present. Stamens 6, rarely 3. Seed without distinct outer seed coat, small; appendages absent.
A section of 11 species with its centre of diversity in the W Mediterranean region but some species are very widespread. Juncus bufonius s. str. and closely related species occupy large geographical ranges in Eurasia and some of them have almost cosmopolitan secondary distributions.