Description from Flora of China
Shrubs, subshrubs, or annual herbs. Leaves alternate, petiolate; leaf blade ovate to linear, margin entire or nearly so. Inflorescences spicate, terminal or axillary. Flowers perfect; in axils of bracts, subtended by 2 bracteoles. Tepals 5, persistent, erect, spreading, colored, scarious, glabrous. Stamens 5; filaments connate into a cup at base, apical part free, linear; pseudostaminodes absent. Ovary 1-loculed; ovules 2 to many; style 1, persistent; stigma capitate, or 2- or 3-lobed. Utricles thinly walled, ovoid or globose, dehiscent by lid. Seeds black, lenticular.
Between 45 and 60 species distributed in subtropical and temperate regions of Africa, North and South America, and Asia; three species (one endemic) in China.