Subshrubs or shrubs [trees]. Stems erect, spreading, or creeping, (much-branched); twigs glabrous or hairy. Leaves persistent, whorled; petiole present; blade coriaceous, margins ciliate, prickled, or glabrous. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, umbels, racemes, or panicles, 10-30-flowered; perulae absent; (bracteoles 2-3). Flowers bisexual, radially symmetric; sepals 4-5, distinct, (shorter than petals); petals 4-5, connate nearly their entire lengths [connate ca. 1/2 their lengths], corolla persistent, campanulate; stamens 10, included or exserted; (filaments glabrous); anthers with or without awns, dehiscent through narrowly oblong, subterminal pores; ovary pseudo-10-locular; style (slender, straight), included or exserted, (glabrous); stigma filiform, obconic, or capitate. Fruits capsular [drupaceous], ellipsoid, dehiscence loculicidal [indehiscent]. Seeds ca. 10, ellipsoid to obovoid, not winged, not tailed; testa reticulate or foveolate. x = 12.
"Fls 4-merous; sep distinct; cor ovoid to campanulate, shallowly lobed; stamens 8; anthers with or without appendages; capsule subglobose, enclosed by the persistent cor; branching shrubs with narrow, whorled, subsessile lvs and pink to purple fls. 600+, Old World. Our spp. all intr. from Europe."
Pedicels short and 1–flowered, normally bearing 1 bract and 2 opposite bracteoles, but sometimes either the bract or the bracteoles, very rarely both, missing.
Calyx and corolla actinomorphic and hypogynous.
Calyx segments 4, free or fused to a greater or lesser extent.
Corolla globular to tubular, 4–lobed, the lobes usually appreciably shorter than the tube, in the F.Z. area rather to very small, always less than 1 cm.
Fruit a cartilaginous loculicidal capsule contained within the persistent calyx and corolla.
Trees, shrubs, or sub–shrubs, usually much branched with flexuously ascending sterns.
Ovary 4 (8) loculate, placentation axile.
Style 1, more or less expanded at the apex.
Leaves normally in whorls of 3–6 (3–4 in the F.Z. area), or occasionally spirally insertedd, very small, the margins usually revolute and meeting in the centre line on the under side of the leaf to form a sulcus.
Inflorescence normally consisting of capitate clusters of up to 20 flowers on the tips of the branchlets, but sometimes spicate with the flowers in the axils of leaves on branches whose vegetative growth may continue after flowering.
|Heath [Greek ereiko, to break, alluding to brittle stems]|