Description from Flora of China
Herbs, perennial [or sometimes low shrubs]. Leaves alternate, simple [occasional leaves 3- or 5-parted]. Inflorescences terminal, cymose and often corymbiform, (1- or) few to many flowered. Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic. Sepals 5, distinct or connate to ± half their length. Petals 5, imbricate in bud, margin entire. Stamens 10, distinct [or monadelphous]. Disk pulvinate. Gynoecium (2 or)3-5-carpelled; ovaries connate in ± their basal half, otherwise contiguous; ovules few or several per locule; style lateral, of (2 or)3-5 contiguous or connate stylar elements; stigma punctiform or capitellate. Fruit a (2 or)3-5-carpelled loculicidal capsule or rarely indehiscent, with carpels connate as in gynoecium; endocarp thinly cartilaginous, adnate to mesocarp in dehisced fruit. Seeds reniform; seed coat leathery, rugose; endosperm copious; embryo curved; cotyledons elliptic-oblong, flattened; hypocotyl superior.
About 65 species: N Africa, Asia, S Europe; three species (one endemic) in China.
(Authors: Zhang Dianxiang (张奠湘); Thomas G. Hartley)