Alternative names: Not Applicable
Annual or perennial herbs, usually more or less glabrous, usually erect; leaves alternate or rarely opposite, simple, entire or minutely serrulate, sessile, exstipulate, those opposite the pedicels often small and bract-like.
Flowers bisexual, regular, bractless but leaf-opposed, arranged in cymes or corymbs; sepals 5, free or shortly fused; Petals 5, free, often clawed, imbricate; stamens 5, united at the base and alternating with 5 small staminodes; anthers introrse, 2-locular; ovary superior, 5-celled, entire, with 2 collateral pendulous anatropous ovules in each cell; styles 5, filiform.
Capsule subglobular, opening septicidally and loculicidally, each cell 2-seeded and more or less completely divided into 2 halves by a false partition intruding from the dorsal suture so that the capsule usually splits into 10 1-seeded divisions leaving no central axis; seeds compressed, shining, with a straight embryo and scanty endosperm.
12 genera with about 290 species; cosmopolitan.
Prepared by J. P. Jessop