Herbs [rarely small shrubs or cushion plants], without laticifers. Stipules absent. Leaves in rosettes or alternate [rarely whorled or imbricate], simple. Inflorescences terminal, cymes, lax spikes [racemes, panicles, pseudoheads, or corymbs], or with flowers solitary. Flowers perfect [rarely unisexual by abortion], usually zygomorphic. Calyx synsepalous; tube adnate to ovary; limb with 5[-9] distinct or partly connate lobes, occasionally 2-labiate. Corolla synpetalous, [4 or]5[-9]-lobed; lower lobe (labellum) often smaller and reflexed [rarely hooded]. Stamens 2, adnate with style, forming a gynostemium (column); gynostemium often irritable, normally bent to labellar side but snapping to an oppositely bent position when touched; anthers extrorse, 2-celled, protandrous. Ovary inferior, incompletely 2-locular [occasionally 1-locular due to reduction of septum]; ovules few to numerous, on axile or free central placentas, anatropous; stigma entire or 2-cleft. Fruit a capsule, usually septicidal. Seeds minute; seed coat thin; embryo small, embedded in copious endosperm.