Herbs or undershrubs, mostly fleshy or succulent. Leaves alternate, opposite or in whorls, simple or compound. Stipules wanting. Inflorescence cymose. Flowers actinomorphic, hermaphrodite. Sepals free or connate, persistent. Petals as many as the sepals, free or more or less united. Stamens as many as or twice as many as the sepals, free or adnate to the petals. Ovaries one-carpellary, superior, usually as many as the petals, free or partly united at the base, with a scale at the base of each ovary; styles subulate or filiform, one per carpel. Ovules numerous, arranged in two rows along the ventral suture. Fruit generally a follicle, dehiscing along the ventral suture. Seeds few to many, small, punctulate. Endosperm scanty or wanting. Embryo terete. About 1400 species in more than 30 genera in temperate to warm regions.