Habit and leaf form. Shrubs (small). Plants succulent, or non-succulent; unarmed. Leaves cauline (ass.). Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Stems not ‘jointed’. Stem internodes solid (ass.). Usually grows in heavy, somewhat saline soils. Leaves minute to large; alternate; spiral, or distichous; ‘herbaceous’, or fleshy; sessile; simple; epulvinate. Leaf blades entire; linear; pinnately veined; attenuate at the base, or cuneate at the base, or oblique at the base, or rounded at the base. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Hydathodes present, or absent. Hairs present (villous).
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary; axillary; ebracteate (ass.); ebracteolate; minute, or small; regular; cyclic. Hypogynous disk present, or absent. Perianth sepaline; 5; 1 -whorled; joined (imbricate); fleshy, or non-fleshy; persistent; accrescent, or non-accrescent. Calyx present; not replaced by accrescent bracteoles; (interpreting the perianth as such) 5; gamosepalous; shortly blunt-lobed; imbricate; urceolate; non-fleshy; persistent (in the fruit); accrescent. The fruiting calyx not berrylike; winged. Corolla absent. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 5. Androecial members free of the perianth, or adnate (to the base of the perianth); all equal (ass.); free of one another (ass.); 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; all more or less similar in shape (ass.); isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous. Anthers bent inwards in bud; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium (2–)5 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious; superior. Ovary unilocular; 1 locular; sessile (ass.). Gynoecium stylate. Styles 2; partially joined. Stigmas 2. Placentation basal. Ovules in the single cavity 1; pendulous, or ascending; non-arillate; campylotropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy (pericarp crustaceous above, membranous below); indehiscent; capsular-indehiscent, or a nut; without fleshy investment; 1 celled. Gynoecia of adjoining flowers combining to form a multiple fruit, or not forming a multiple fruit. Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds more or less non-endospermic. Perisperm present, or absent. Cotyledons 2. Embryo coiled, or curved, or bent.
Etymology. From the Greek for "hard" and "cloak", alluding to the hard perianth.