Annual or perennial herbs or small shrubs. Leaves fleshy or scale-like, opposite or alternate, exstipulate or with membranous stipules. Flowers usually bisexual, regular. Calyx tubular, 4-8 lobed. Petals more commonly absent or numerous and linear. Stamens 5 to many, the outer ones petaloid staminodes; filaments free or basally connate, anthers bilocular, dehiscing lengthwise. Pistil monocarpellary or 2-5 and syncarpous; ovary inferior or semi-inferior, 1-5 locular or many loculed; placentation axile, parietal or basal, with usually many ovules per locule. Fruit a berry, a loculicidal capsule or of 1-seeded dehiscent or indehiscent parts. Seeds endospermic.