Annual or perennial herbs or small shrubs, often halophytic. Leaves usually alternate, often succulent, often mealy from collapsed bladder hairs; stipules absent. Flowers unisexual (plants monoecious or dioecious) or bisexual, usually regular, usually sessile or clustered in dense cymes. Perianth segments 5, herbaceous, usually connate, in 1 whorl, sometimes absent. Stamens as many as perianth segments and opposite them or 1, inserted on a disc, hypogynous. Ovary superior, 1-locular; ovule solitary; styles 1–3; stigmas 2–3. Fruit a nut, surrounded by the perianth which sometimes becomes succulent, or a 1-seeded berry. c. 100 gen., world wide, mostly in dry and/or salty areas.