Annual or perennial herbs (in Australia). Leaves alternate, simple to lobed or divided, margins entire or crenate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, simple or branched. Flowers pedicellate or subsessile in axils of bracts, bisexual, zygomorphic; sepals usually 4–6, inserted below or rarely on disc; petals alternate with sepals, 3–6, unequal, claw with scale-like appendage; disc off-centre, tubular or collar-shaped, surrounding and fused with filaments; stamens 7–40, usually surrounding ovary; ovary superior, usually of 3 or 4 united carpels, angled, gaping, unilocular with 3 or 4 apical tooth-like stigmas; placentation parietal; ovules numerous, pendulous. Fruit a dry, gaping, thin-walled capsule; seeds reniform.
6 genera, Mediterranean to India and throughout Africa; 1 genus naturalised in Australia.