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Annual or perennial, prostrate to ascending, succulent herbs. Leaves alternate or subopposite, often upper ones crowded in a foliar involucre around flowers, flat or terete, sometimes succulent; stipules scarious, fimbriate or present as tufts of hairs, rarely absent. Inflorescences of subapical flowers, clustered in a capituliform cyme or solitary. Sepals 2, opposite, free or connate below, unequal, usually persistent; petals (4-)5(-6), free or connate at base, falling off rapidly; stamens 4-8 or more, basipetalous, filaments often pubescent below; ovary inferior of half-inferior, ovules numerous, styles 2-9, united below, rarely free. Fruit a 1-locular, membranous or chartaceous, circumscissile capsule; seeds numerous, reniform or cochleate, testa smooth or tuberculate.


Guianas present, temperate to tropical regions worldwide, often in dry areas present
Approximately 200 species, distributed in temperate to tropical regions worldwide, often in dry areas; 5 species in the Guianas, sometimes planted as ornamentals.