Subshrubs or herbs sometimes becoming woody at base, annual and perennial.
Ovary globose, 1-ovulate; style absent or short; stigmas 4, filiform.
Stamens 4, three alternate with sepals and one opposite; filaments filiform, free.
Seed 1; testa dark brown or black.
Fruit subglobose to globose, ridged, muricate or warty.
Bracteoles sometimes present in pairs.
Sepals 4–5, more or less equal, membranous.
Flowers hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, usually in clusters of 3.
Bracts solitary, sometimes 3-lobed.
Leaves alternate, often with fascicles of leaves in axils, filiform or with distinctly broad lamina, sometimes more or less succulent, sessile or petiolate.