Annual or perennial herbs, with milky or yellowish (rarely whitish) sap. Leaves toothed or pinnately lobed, ± hairy, sometimes hispid or stiffly bristly. Inflorescence generally solitary terminal or axillary, often on long peduncles. Flowers often showy and large with caducous sepals and petals; peduncles often elongated; buds drooping. Sepals 2(-3), free, soon deciduous, usually ovate-orbicular, often hispid. Petals 4(-6), crumpled in bud, usually ± orbicular with little or no claw, usually red, pink, yellow or white. Stamens indefinite with anthers dehiscing outward; filaments linear or dilated, often dark coloured; anthers small, often oblong. Stigmas 4-20, borne on a disc, sessile; disc margin wavy to deeply dissected, with as many lobes as the stigma rays. Ovules numerous on parietal placentae. Fruit many seeded capsule, globose, ellipsoid, subcylindrical-globose, dehiscing by pores just beneath the persistent stigmatic disc. Seeds small or minute, kidney-shaped and pitted or very finely reticulated.
A genus of about 50 species, distributed mostly in temperate Europe and Asia. It is represented by 10 species in West Pakistan, of which one is new to science.
Due to caducous nature of calyx and corolla it is difficult to have a complete specimen with flower and mature fruit on the same herbarium sheet. The collectors do not seem to have collected specimens with flowers and fruits from the same locality or at different times; hence lack of mature fruits in herbaria is a common feature.