Alternative names: Not Applicable
Small shrubs or subshrubs to cushion plants, rarely annuals; plants glabrous or pubescent, hairs simple; salt-glands present on stems, leaves, and calyces, salt crystals whitish, occasionally forming a solid crust on the leaves; branches differentiated into long- and short-shoots, short-shoot leaves in axillary fascicles of 2-25 leaves; leaves opposite, decussate, sessile or petiolate, paired leaves united at the base by hyaline sheathing margins; leaf bases narrow to broad, strongly thickened and indurate to flattened and membranaceous, winged, margins usually ciliate; leaf blades flattened to terete; margins entire, thickened or not, slightly to very strongly revolute, loosely (easily unrolled) to tightly (not readily unrolled) revolute.
Flowers actinomorphic, usually bisexual, sessile, subtended by 4, occasionally 2, leaf-like bracts, solitary or in terminal or axillary dichasia; sepals valvate, united to form a strongly-ribbed calyx tube, lobes free, acuminate or obtuse at the apex; corolla salverform, petals 4-7, free, imbricate, glabrous, spathulate to narrowly oblong-oblanceolate, clawed at the base, white, pink or blue-purple, ligules present rarely absent; androecium hypogynous, stamens 3-25, usually borne in 2 unequal whorls with the outer whorl shorter, long and short stamens alternating; gynoecium superior; styles filiform; style-branches 1-4; ovaries glabrous, ovoid to ellipsoid, 1-celled; carpels 1-4, placentae parietal, parietal-basal (placenta extending up lower one-half to two-thirds of the ovary wall), basal-parietal (placenta extending less than half way up the ovary wall), or basal; ovules 1-c. 100, anatropous, funicles ascending to deflexed in the upper part.
Fruits glabrous thin papery brown capsules, ellipsoid to ovoid, loculicidally dehiscent, included in accrescent calyces; seeds small, obconical, elongate-ovoid or ellipsoid, ivory-white to golden-brown.
The Frankeniaceae has an interruptedly cosmopolitan distribution occurring in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North and South America.
5 genera have been described.
Prepared by M. A. Whalen