Herbs or shrubs. Leaves alternate or opposite. Flowers solitary or in clusters, subtended by large or smaller bracteoles; perianth (4-)5-lobed, horizontally winged at or above the middle; stamens 5 or less; anthers linear or oval, often with a connective disk of very different size and shape; stigmas 2(-3); fruit membranous or fleshy. Seeds usually horizontal; embryo plano- or conical-spiral. Zn =l8, 36, 54, 72. About 116 spp., Europe, Asia, N Africa.
Kew Bull. 29: 597-614 (1974).
Botsch., Bot. Zum. 54: 989-1001 (1969)
Sp Pl: 222 (1753)
Novit. Syst. Plant. Vasc. 9: 140-154 (1972)