Shrubs, diffusely but irregularly branched, branches flexuous. Leaves usually absent or very small, linear or filiform, distinct or united with short membranous ochreae. Flowers solitary or in loose clusters, bisexual. Perianth segments 5, subequal, reflexed or rarely spreading ± petaloid, nearly free. Stamens 10-18, connate. Carpels 4; ovary 4-angled; styles 4; stigmas 4, capitate. Fruit 4-angled nut, coiled or straight, angles usually setose beset with numerous, stiffish, filiform bristles which are often branched or variously winged. Seeds 4-angled, oblong; embryo straight.