Annual herbs, mostly covered with appressed hairs. Rosette leaves crowded, petiolate, entire; cauline leaves alternate, widely spaced, sessile. Inflorescences terminal, of 1–3 simple monochasial scorpioid cymes; bracts present. Flowers shortly pedicellate; sepals 5, scarcely connate at base, elongating greatly with age; corolla regular, 5-lobed, cylindric, hairy outside, with 5 hairy ridges between throat and anthers and a ring of scales below anthers, throat open, lobes spreading; stamens included in corolla-tube, anthers ellipsoid, subsessile; ovary 4-lobed, 4-celled, style filiform, about as long as stamens; stigma 2-lobed with a terminal appendage. Fruit splitting into 4 mericarps (often fewer by abortion), leaving a flattish gynobase; mericarps ovoid, beaked, densely tuberculate, rarely rugose, attachment scar large, basal.
About 15 species, widespread from Europe to central Asia; 1 species naturalised in Australia.