Herbs or undershrubs, somewhat succulent or woody near the base, often provided with tubers. Leaves alternate, usually unequal-sided, entire, lobed or digitately parted. Stipules caducous or deciduous. Inflorescence consisting of unisexual or bisexual, axillary cymes. Male flowers: sepals 2; petals 2—6 or wanting; stamens numerous to 4. Female flowers: tepals 5—2 or rarely 6—9; ovary inferior or nearly so, usually winged and 3-celled, sometimes incompletely 2—6-celled; styles as many as the cells, free or united at the base, generally 2-cleft; ovules anatropous, numerous, on axillary placentas; fruit a capsule or berry; seeds numerous, minute, straight; endosperm wanting. About 820 species in 5 genera, in tropical regions except Australia.