Perennial or annual shrubs (rarely trees) or herbs, variably stellate-pubescent. Leaves alternate, petiolate, entire or lobed; stipules usually present, linear. Flowers bisexual, usually solitary in leaf-axils; epicalyx of c. 6–13 linear lobes, free or shortly united at base; calyx 5-lobed, persistent in fruit; petals 5, free; stamens numerous; style branches and locules each 5, or style-branches united; stigmas 5, capitate; ovules several per locule. Fruit a loculicidal capsule; seeds reniform, sometimes pubescent.
About 300 species world-wide, mostly from tropical and warm-temperate regions; about 69 species in Australia (5 introduced).