Shrubs deciduous, polygamo-dioecious. Branches stout, terete; buds ovoid, scales alternate, purplish brown. Leaves alternate, exstipulate, subsessile, simple, midvein distinct, lateral veins in 3–5 pairs, margin entire. Inflorescence terminal, pedunculate, a dense, spikelike, many-flowered panicle; bracts lanceolate, margin entire. Flowers shortly pedicellate, small. Hypanthium shallowly campanulate. Sepals 5, erect, persistent in fruit, margin entire, apex acute. Petals 5, white, longer than sepals. Stamens 20–25, slightly shorter to slightly longer than petals, vestigial in female flowers. Carpels 5, connate at base. Follicles erect, long ellipsoid, dehiscent along whole adaxial suture and abaxially near apex. Seeds usually 2, rather large.
About four species: W China, Russia (Siberia); Europe; three species (two endemic) in China.
The species of Sibiraea are very similar and are sometimes all placed in S. laevigata.