Scapose or caulescent annual to perennial herbs. Leaves simple, exstipulate, opposite, whorled or alternate. Flowers perfect, regular, mostly 5-merous. Calyx deeply lobed, often persistent. Corolla deeply parted to lobed, the lobes spreading or reflexed. Stamens of same number as corolla-lobes and inserted opposite them on the corolla-tube. Ovary 1-celled, usually superior, sometimes half- inferior; ovules on a free cent. or basal placenta. Style 1; stigma capitate. Fruit a capsule, commonly 2-6 valved, sometimes circumscissile at apex. Seeds few to many, with endosperm. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 715).
Primroses, Cyclamens and Cowslips are in this family. The weedy, little Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), which is often seen, is not a native. It comes from Eurasia. (Dale 161).
About 25 genera and 600 species, widely distributed but most common in N. Hemisphere. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 715).