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Small annual or perennial herbs. Leaves opposite, small or pseudo-verticillate. Stipules scarious. Inflorescence in dense or loose cymes. Flowers small. Sepals 5, free, green, carinate with scarious margin. Petals 5 or fewer, shorter than sepals. Stamens 5 or fewer, opposite to the sepals; Ovary unilocular; Capsule shorter than sepals, splitting almost to base into 3 spirally twisting valves. Seeds ovoid to lenticular.


South America present, the Mediterranean present, tropical Asia present
About 18 closely related species distributed throughout the Mediterranean region, 2 species in South America, 2 species in tropical Asia.


Pax & Hoffm. 1934 – In: Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam., ed. 2, 16c. p 308
Bittrich 1993 – In: Kubitzki et al., Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 2. p 221