Dwarf, trailing, or erect shrubs with opposite or alternate simple usually entire leaves with large or small or no stipules and solitary or racemose showy ephemeral flowers. Flowers regular. Sepals 3 to 5, imbricate, the two outer usually smaller or absent. Petals 5, scarcely clawed, imbricate, spreading, very thin and fugacious. Stamens many, hypogynous; filaments free, filiform. Capsule 1-celled, or several-celled in consequence of the projecting parietal placentas; seeds numerous, albuminous, orthotropous. Chiefly from the Mediterranean region; a few dispersed throughout Europe, and a few found in North and South America, and Central and Eastern Asia.