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Annual, biennial, or mostly perennial herbs, glabrous or hairy. Leaves of varying shape, sessile or petiolate. Inflorescences cymose, capitate or paniculate. Petals with winged claw, lamina with or without coronal scales. Stamens 10. Ovary with many (rarely few) ovules. Capsule dehiscing by 4(-6) short valves or teeth. Seeds reniform, flat, tuberculate.


Asia-Tropical, from the Mediterranean region to W Asia present
About 40 Eurasian species from the Mediterranean region to W Asia. In Malesia only one cultivated species.


The genus is closely related to Silene and Gypsophila.


Simmler 1910 – In: Denkschr. Akad. Wiss. Wien Math.-Naturw. Kl.: 433
L. 1754 – In: Gen. Pl. ed.: 191
Pax & Hoffm. 1934 – In: Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam., ed. 2, 16c: 361