Plants herbaceous or rarely suffrutescent, usually with milky juice. Leaves simple, alternate, estipulate. Flowers mostly perfect, usually 5-merous except as to carpels. Ovary inferior or partly so, a flower-tube mostly not much developed above it. Sepals or calyx lobes mostly 5, persistent. Corolla sympetalous, regular or irregular. Stamens distinct or united. Style 1; ovary 2-5 loculed, sometimes without internal septum. Fruit a capsule with many minute seeds. About 60 genera and 1600 species of temperate and tropical regions; many of ornamental use. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 322).