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Annual or perennial herbs, often suffruticose, with or without glandular hairs. Leaves linear-narrowly elliptic, often somewhat succulent, opposite; Flowers small, mostly numerous in dichasial cymes. Petals 5, white to pink, often with darker veins, patent, short-clawed, without coronal scales, gradually widening into the lamina. Stamens 10 (5), shorter than corolla. Capsule subglobose, longer than calyx, dehiscing by 4 valves almost to the base. Seeds auriculate, verrucose or echinate.


Asia-Tropical, from Europe throughout subtropical Asia to Australia and New Zealand present
About 150 species, from Europe throughout subtropical Asia to Australia and New Zealand. The greatest diversity is found in the eastern Mediterranean region. In Malesia no indigenous species occur, but two are sometimes cultivated, mostly as double-flowered cultivars.


Pax & Hoffm. 1934 – In: Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam., ed. 2, 16c. p 351
Stroh 1937 – In: Beih. Bot. Centralbl. p 455
Friedrich 1969 – In: Hegi, Ill. Fl. Mitteleur. 1. p 955
Barkoudah 1962 – In: Wentia. p 1
Edgew. & Hook. f. 1874 – In: Fl. Brit. India. p 216
Huber-Morath 1967 – In: Fl. Turkey. p 149
Bittrich 1993 – In: Kubitzki et al., Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 2. p 230
L. 1993: Fl. Eur., ed. 2. 1. p 219