Annual or perennial herbs with watery juice, rarely woody. Lvs. alternate, simple or pinnately divided, with small glandlike stipules. Fls. small, perfect irregular, in racemes or spikes. Calyx 4-7 parted, persistent. Petals small and inconspicuous, 2-7 or 0, often laciniate, clawed. Stamens 3-40, usually in a +/- one-sided hypogynous disk; fils. free or united at base; anthers 2-celled, introrse. Ovary of 2-6 free or connate carpels, 1-celled, closed or opening at top, each carpel with its own stigma. Fr. a gaping caps. or a berry; seeds many, subreniform, without endosperm. About 6 genera and 65 spp., mostly of Medit. region. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 730).