Herbs or shrubs. Leaves alternate or opposite, simple. Stipules present. Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, usually hermaphroditic, rarely polygamous or cleistogamous. Sepals 5, usually free, persistent, imbricate. Petals 5, alternating with the sepals, usually free. Stamens usually 5, episepalous; filaments short; anthers usually introrse, more or less connivent, with or sometimes without connective-scales. Filaments short. Ovary superior, usually 3-celled with parietal placentas, each furnished with 1—∞ anatropous ovules; style one. Fruit capsular and loculicidal, bacciform or nuciform. Seeds with carnose endosperm; embryo straight. About 900 species in nearly 20 genera all over the world, especially in tropical and temperate regions.