Perennial, often prickly, simple or rarely branched, often tall and robust herbs with yellow latex. Leaves entire or lobed, radical stalked, cauline sessile or subsessile. Inflorescence solitary, racemed, pseudo-racemed or panicled. Flowers often large, showy, blue, yellow or purplish-red. Sepals 2(-4), usually caducous, valvate. Petals 4 (often varying from 5-10), free, obovate to broadly ovate. Stamens many, multiseriate; filament filiform; anthers often oblong. Carpels many, fused, superior, with unilocular, ellipsoid to subglobose ovary; ovules many on parietal placentae projecting into the ovary; style distinct, often short; stigma rays 5-6, radiating and forming a globular mass over the ovary. Capsule ovoid, oblong, clavate or cylindrical, 1-celled, dehiscing by short slits at the apex or sometimes splitting almost to the base of the fruit. Seeds many, small, rugose.