Description: Perennial herbs with slender annual twining stems from tuber-bearing rhizomes.
Leaves alternate [or opposite, sometimes all basal], simple, entire, somewhat succulent.
Inflorescence terminal or axillary racemes or panicles. Flowers actinomorphic, mostly bisexual. Bracts 2. Perianth segments 5, free or basally fused, persistent in fruit. Stamens 5. Ovary superior, 3-carpellate, 3-lobed, 1-locular by breakdown of partitions; styles 3 or style simple and 3-lobed.
Fruit an achene, surrounded by the persistent, often fleshy corolla.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 4 genera, 15–20 species, tropical & subtropical regions, mostly America. Australia: 2 genera, 2 species.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Basellaceae, Order: Caryophyllales)
Some species are cultivated as ornamentals or as food crops in tropical regions of the world.
Text by G. J. Harden
Taxa not yet included in identification key