Perennial herbs, subshrubs or cushion plants; stems jointed, succulent. Leaves opposite, i reduced. Flowers bisexual, solitary or in small clusters, subtended by 2 small, sometimes only setose bracteoles; perianth lobes 5, free almost to the base, unequal, with 3-5 wings; stamens 5, with or without appendages, alternating with semi-orbicular or oblong, scale-like, mostly papillose staminodes; stigmas 2, thickened or linear. Fruit berry-like; seeds vertical. About 42 spp., Asia, N Africa. Fredolia is sometimes treated as a separate genus.