Annual or perennial herbs, often suffruticose, with or without glandular hairs. Leaves linear-narrowly elliptic, often somewhat succulent, opposite; Flowers small, mostly numerous in dichasial cymes. Petals 5, white to pink, often with darker veins, patent, short-clawed, without coronal scales, gradually widening into the lamina. Stamens 10 (5), shorter than corolla. Capsule subglobose, longer than calyx, dehiscing by 4 valves almost to the base. Seeds auriculate, verrucose or echinate.
Asia-Tropical, from Europe throughout subtropical Asia to Australia and New Zealand present
About 150 species, from Europe throughout subtropical Asia to Australia and New Zealand. The greatest diversity is found in the eastern Mediterranean region. In Malesia no indigenous species occur, but two are sometimes cultivated, mostly as double-flowered cultivars.
Friedrich - in Hegi, Ill. Fl. Mitteleur. 1. 1969: 955
Stroh - in Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 1937: 455
Pax & Hoffm. - in Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam., ed. 2, 16c. 1934: 351
Huber-Morath - in Fl. Turkey. 1967: 149
Edgew. & Hook. f. - in Fl. Brit. India. 1874: 216
L., Fl. Eur., ed. 2. 1. 1993: 219
Barkoudah - in Wentia. 1962: 1
Bittrich - in Kubitzki et al., Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 2. 1993: 230