A small family, natives of the northern hemisphere; low, generally evergreen, perennials, with branched rootstocks; leaves with leaf-stalks; flowers perfect, nearly regular, white or pink; calyx with four or five lobes; corolla with four or five lobes, or five petals; stamens twice as many as the divisions of the corolla; ovary superior, stigma more or less five-lobed; fruit a capsule, with many minute seeds.