Description: Shrubs or annual herbs, often with jointed stems, usually of saline or dry regions.
Leaves simple, opposite (commonly appearing whorled owing to shortness of lateral branches), the leaf pairs united by a small stipular sheath, commonly encrusted with salt, often ericoid with rolled margins.
Flowers solitary or in dichasial cymes, bracteate, sessile, actinomorphic, generally bisexual. Calyx tubular with 4–7 persistent lobes. Petals 4–7, usually free, often spathulate or clawed, with a scale-like appendage on the inside. Stamens 4–24, in 2 whorls, ± free, hypogynous; filaments of unequal length, often flattened; anthers versatile, longitudinally and extrorsely dehiscent. Ovary 1-locular with 3, rarely 2–5, generally parietal placentas, ovules mostly numerous; ovary fertile only in lower half; style slender, usually branched.
Fruit a 2–5-valved loculicidal capsule enclosed within the persistent calyx; seeds 1–many.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 4 genera, c. 100 species, subtropical & temperate regions. Australia: 1 genus, c. 50 species, all mainland States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Frankeniaceae, Order: Caryophyllales)
Text by C. Miller