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Perennial or annual herbs or subshrubs; young stems and leaves often pubescent, but glabrous with age. Leaves opposite, entire. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, sessile or pedunculate, of various types. Flowers bisexual; tepals 5, outer 3 longer than and enclosing inner 2, glabrous inside; stamens (3)5, united below, anthers oblong or ovate, 2-locular, pseudostaminodia shorter or longer than stamens, subulate or ligulate, distally dentate to fimbriate; ovule 1, style obscure to slender, stigma capitate and globose to more or less punctate. Fruit an indehiscent utricle.


Guianas present, tropics and subtropics of the New and Old Worlds present
Approximately 200 species in the tropics and subtropics of the New and Old Worlds, including 6 species in the Guianas.