Herbs or shrubs. Leaves basal, alternate or alternate and opposite, simple; stipules present or absent. Flowers irregular to regular, bisexual. Sepals and petals 5, imbricate. Stamens 5, subsessile; anthers connivent around the gynoecium, with a terminal membranous appendage. Ovary superior, 1-locular, usually with 3 parietal placentas; style simple, with a terminal stigma. Fruit a loculicidal capsule or berry. 23 gen., trop. to temp.