Perennial or annual herbs or subshrubs. Leaves opposite or rarely upper ones alternate, entire to 2-pinnatisect, subsessile to petiolate. Inflorescences racemes, spikes, heads, lateral thyrses, or terminal or axillary cymes; bracteoles absent. Calyx 5-lobed; corolla 5-lobed, 2-lipped, well-exceeding the calyx, tube symmetrical at base, not or slightly swollen, not spurred, upper lip 2-lobed, lower 3-lobed, without a palate; stamens 4, more or less equal length, included in or exserted out of the corolla-tube, anthers joined, 1-locular, staminode 1, occasionally absent; stigma minute, capitate to more or less 2-lobed. Capsule septicidal, globose to ovoid, 2-valved; seeds many, not winged, rugose.
c. 200 species throughout northern temperate regions; 2 species naturalised in Australia.