Annual herbs or subshrubs. Flowers bisexual or pistillate, solitary or in spicate inflorescences; perianth urceolate, with 5 inflexed lobes; fruiting perianth acCrescent with spine-like or tubercle-like appendages or membranous; scarious wings at the back; stamens 5; stigmas 2. Pericarp free from seed coat; seeds usually horizontal; embryo annular; radicle centrifugal; perisperm usually abundant, mealy. 2n = 18, 36, 54. 21 spp., Europe, Asia, Africa and N America.
Kochia (Kochia) Roth is sometimes given separate generic rank.
Aellen, Mitt Basl. Bot. Ges. 2: 4-16 (1954).
Collins and Blackwell, Sida 8: 57-64 (1979).
Melanges Philos Math Soc R Turin 3: 177 (1766)