Description: Almost erect to trailing, perennial shrubs, minutely papillose. Branches terete, stiff, appearing jointed because of the persistent leaf bases.
Leaves terete, opposite on lower branches, alternate on flowering branches, partly ensheathing the stem, soon falling leaving only the wide bases.
Flowers solitary, terminal or axillary on short shoots. Perianth tubular, 5-lobed. Petaloid staminodes many; stamens many. Ovary inferior, 5-locular; placentation axile, ovules numerous in each loculus; styles 5.
Fruit a hygroscopic capsule, with winged valves; loculi without grooves; placental tubercles absent; seeds many, D-shaped, laterally compressed.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 72 species, southern Africa. Australia: 1 species (naturalized).
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & J. Highet