Annual, biennial or perennial herbs, rarely undershrubs or shrubs, usually succulent, sometimes woody at base. Leaves alternate, opposite or verticillate, usually simple, sometimes compound, exstipulate, often thick and fleshy, sometimes forming a basal rosette. Flowers actinomorphic, (3-)4-5(-32)-merous, usually bisexual, in axillary or terminal cymes, often grouped in corymb- or panicle-like inflorescences, less often in racemes or spike or solitary in the leaf axil. Sepals free or united. Petals free or united, sometimes forming a tubular corolla. Stamens as many or twice as many as the petals, filaments free or more or less adnate to the corolla; anthers 2-celled, usually basifixed, introrse, dehiscing longitudinally. Carpels superior or semi-inferior, equal in number to the petals, free or united at the base. Nectar scales usually present, small, applied to the base of the outer face of the carpels. Fruit a follicle. Seeds few-numerous, very small with smooth, rugose or tuberculate tegument and usually fleshy endosperm and straight embryo.