Herbs annual or perennial, subshrubs, or shrubs, rarely dioecious, glabrous or rarely hairy. Stems erect or prostrate. Leaves simple, alternate, rarely opposite, often in a basal rosette or in pseudowhorls on stems, margin entire; stipules absent or membranous. Inflorescences terminal or in seemingly axillary cymes, rarely as a solitary flower. Flowers bisexual, rarely unisexual, actinomorphic, hypogynous, rarely perigynous. Tepals 5, rarely 4, free or connate below into a tube, lobes white or pink to purple, sometimes yellow inside (in Glinus). Petals absent or few to many, white, pink, or purple. Stamens 3-5 or many, arranged in several rings, free or connate at base in bundles; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, syncarpous (in Gisekia developmentally syncarpous; fruit a deeply lobed schizocarp); carpels 2-5 or many, placentation axile, rarely seemingly basal. Stigmas as many as locules. Ovules 1 to many per locule. Fruit usually a loculicidal capsule or deeply (3-)5-15-lobed mericarps (in Gisekia), rarely breaking into 2 nutlets [in Limeum Linnaeus, not in Flora area]. Seeds with embryo curved around a hard, starchy perisperm.
Herbs [shrubs], annual or perennial, glabrous or pubescent, not or slightly succulent. Leaves alternate, opposite, or whorled, petiolate [or sessile]; blade margins entire; stipules present or absent. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, cymose or umbellate, or flowers solitary. Flowers usually bisexual, sessile or pedicellate. Perianth hypogynous; sepals 4-5, distinct to basally connate; petals absent, or small and of staminodial origin, distinct or basally connate; stamens 2-25, hypogynous, in 1-2 series, sometimes fascicled, distinct or basally connate; filaments filiform; anthers versatile, 4-locular, dehiscence introrse, longitudinal; pollen 3-aperturate; pistils of 1-5 connate carpels; placentation axile or appearing basal in some 1-ovulate carpels; ovules 1-25 per locule; stigmas 1 or 3-5, apical, sessile or borne on styles. Fruits achenes or 3-5-valved loculicidal capsules. Seeds reniform to lenticular, sometimes strophiolate (with hilar appendages); endosperm lacking, starch present; embryo curved.
Leaves alternate or opposite; stipules none or very small and soon falling off
Ovary syncarpous (except Gisekia), usually several-celled; styles or stigmas as many as the cells; ovules curved or inverted
Stamens hypogynous or slightly perigynous, definite or many; filaments free to connate at the base; anthers 2-celled, opening lengthwise
Seeds with endosperm, the embryo curved
Fruit dry, dehiscing into the cells or by a transverse slit, rarely indehiscent, calyx usually persistent
Sepals free or united at the base only, imbricate
Flowers actinomorphic, hermaphrodite, solitary or cymose, usually small and inconspicuous
Flowers more or less actinomorphic, hermaphrodite, rarely unisexual (in Gisekia africana)
Leaves simple, alternate, opposite or verticillate, sometimes crowded, with or without stipules
Inflorescences solitary, cymose, loosely dichasial to umbelliform or glomerate, axillary or terminal
Succulent or subsucculent annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs, glabrous or covered with simple or stellate hairs (in Glinus lotoides)
Stamens 3–?, hypogynous, sometimes in pairs or fascicles, alternate with the perianth-segments when definite in number; filaments often enlarged below; anthers 2-locular, opening by longitudinal slits
Ovary superior, 2–5-carpellate, apocarpous (in Gisekia) or syncarpous; loculi and stigmas as many as carpels; ovules 1, few or many per loculus; placentation axile or basal
Fruit of achenes, mericarps or loculicidal capsules
Seeds usually subreniform or triangular in outline, sometimes strophiolate; embryo usually curved
Staminodes often present, sometimes petaloid
Boetsch, J. R. 2002. The Aizoaceae and Molluginaceae of the southeastern United States. Castanea 67: 42-53. Bogle, A. L. 1970b. The genera of Molluginaceae and Aizoaceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 51: 431-462. Endress, M. E. and V. Bittrich. 1993. Molluginaceae. In: K. Kubitzki et al., eds. 1990+. The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. 4+ vols. Berlin etc. Vol. 2, pp. 419-426. Sharma, H. P. 1963. Studies in the order Centrospermales. II. Vascular anatomy of the flower of certain species of the Molluginaceae. J. Indian Bot. Soc. 42: 19-32.