The Leadwort Family is mostly acaulescent perennial herbs with basal leaves and scapose panicles, spikes or heads sometimes with elongate, branched stems. The flowers are perfect, regular, 5-merous. The calyx is bracted at the base, and tubular or funnelform, plaited with 5-15 ribs, often scarious and colored. The corolla is usually of distinct petals, convolute or imbricate in bud. The stamens are opposite the petals. The ovary is superior, 1-celled with 1 ovule. Styles 5, separate or united. The fruit is an urticle or achene, usually enclosed by the calyx. There is a single seed.
About 10 genera and 300 species, widely distributed, usually of saline or calcareous places; some grown as ornamentals. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 636).