Deciduous shrubs, prickly or unarmed. Leaves alternate or fasciculate, simple, palmately veined and often lobed, stipules absent or adnate to the petioles. Flowers solitary or in racemes, 4-5-merous, bisexual or unisexual by abortion, epigynous with a conspicuous and often coloured receptacle. Calyx tube adnate to the ovary, lobes imbricate or subvalvate. Petals free, smaller than the sepals. Stamens as many as the petals and alternating with them. Ovary inferior, unilocular, ovules many on 2 parietal placentas, styles 2, almost united, stigmas undivided. Fruit a berry, crowned by the persistent calyx.
A family with only 1 genus and 50 species, distributed in Europe, Asia, N. W. Africa, N. and C. America, Pacific South America, Chile and Argen¬tina. Sometimes treated as a subfamily of the Saxifragaceae. Represented in W. Pakistan by 8 species.