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Annual herbs, sometimes suffruticose, glabrous; branches often prostrate and spreading. Basal leaves crowded into a rosette, cauline leaves opposite or whorled; blade linear to spathulate, sometimes slightly fleshy; stipules small, scarious and caducous, or absent. Inflorescences of axillary fascicles, or solitary flowers; flowers pedicellate. Sepals 5, imbricate in bud, not apically appendaged; petals absent; stamens 3-10, usually 5, filaments filiform or widened, united at base; ovary 3- to 5-locular, ovules numerous, styles and stigmas as many as locules. Capsule loculicidal, membranous, after dehiscence with a central column bearing persistent funicles; seeds few to numerous, trigonous or more or less reniform, shiny, small, estrophiolate, testa granular or sculptured.


Guianas present, New and Old World tropics and subtropics present
Approximately 35 species in the New and Old World tropics and subtropics; 1 species in the Guianas.