Herb, shrub or tree. Leaves whorled or opposite sometime alternate, simple, margins entire; stipules minute or absent. Inflorescence axillary cymes, clusters of flowers or flowers solitary Flowers 4–6(7)-merous. Petals free, sometimes absent. Stamens up to twice as many as petals. Ovary 2–6-locular; placentation axile; style simple usually capitate. Fruit a capsule, seeds numerous. 28 gen., temp to trop., particularly America.