Herbs, or somewhat shrubby plants, mostly fleshy or succulent, with cymose or rarely solitary regular or symmetrical flowers. Stipules none. Calyx persistent, free from the ovary or ovaries, mostly 4-5-cleft or 4-5-parted. Petals equal in number to the calyx-lobes, distinct, or more or less united, usually persistent, rarely wanting. Stamens of the same number or twice as many as the petals; filaments filiform or subulate; anthers longitudinally dehiscent. Receptacle with a scale at the base of each carpel. Carpels equal in number to the sepals, distinct, or united below; styles subulate or filiform; ovules numerous, arranged in 2 rows along the ventral suture. Follicles membranous or coriaceous, 1-celled, dehiscent along the ventral suture. Seeds minute; endosperm fleshy; embryo terete; cotyledons short, obtuse.

About 30 genera and 600 species, of wide geographic distribution.

Stamens of the same number as the sepals; minute herbs.



Stamens twice as many as the sepals; succulent herbs.

Flowers 4-5-parted.

Carpels erect; flowers often polygamous.



Carpels spreading; flowers perfect.



Flowers 6-12-parted.