Habit and leaf form. Small trees, or shrubs. Leaves well developed (but small), or much reduced. Leptocaul. Mostly xerophytic. Leaves minute to small; alternate; spiral; decurrent on the stems, or not decurrent on the stems; fleshy, or membranous (commonly subulate or scalelike); often imbricate (the plants often heathlike); sessile (sometimes amplexicaul); sheathing, or non-sheathing; with epidermal but embedded, multicellular salt glands; simple; epulvinate. Leaf blades with the lamina commonly centric (when not abortive); entire. Leaves without stipules. Leaf anatomy. Hairs present, or absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male, or functionally female. Unisexual flowers present. Plants monoecious, or dioecious.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. Inflorescences simple, or compound. Flowers bracteate; small; regular; 4–5(–6) merous (when A ‘definite‘); cyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present; extrastaminal, or intrastaminal, or extrastaminal and intrastaminal; lobed. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 8, or 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx present; 4, or 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous (connate below); conspicuously lobed; blunt-lobed. Calyx lobes markedly longer than the tube. Calyx imbricate; regular, or unequal but not bilabiate; persistent. Corolla present; 4, or 5; 1 -whorled; not appendiculate; polypetalous; contorted; regular; white, or pink, or red; persistent, or deciduous. Fertile stamens present, or absent (from female flowers). Androecial members definite in number, or indefinite in number. Androecium 4–5, or 8–15 (4–5 in outer whorl, usually with another 4–10 stamens forming inner whorl, inner ones sometimes abortive). Androecial sequence determinable, or not determinable. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 8–15; isomerous with the perianth, or diplostemonous; fertile stamens representing when ‘definite‘, the anterior-lateral pair; when ‘definite‘, oppositisepalous. Anthers dorsifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse, or latrorse, or introrse; tetrasporangiate; appendaged, or unappendaged; apiculate, or non-apiculate. Pollen shed in aggregates, or shed as single grains. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (from male flowers). Gynoecium 3–4(–5) carpelled. The pistil 3–4(–5) celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth, or isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious, or synstylovarious; superior. Ovary unilocular; 1 locular (but the placental partitions sometimes sufficiently deeply intruded to simulate loculi, especially basally and apically), or 3–5 locular (by misinterpretation); sessile. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 3–4(–5); free, or partially joined; apical. Stigmas 3–4(–5); wet type; non-papillate; Group IV type. Placentation basal to parietal. Ovules in the single cavity 10–100 (‘many’ on each placenta); funicled; ascending; anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal. Fruit many-seeded. Seeds scantily endospermic, or non-endospermic. Endosperm not oily (starchy). Seeds conspicuously conspicuously hairy (with long hairs forming a coma at one end); with starch. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight. Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.
Physiology, biochemistry. Aluminium accumulation not found. Photosynthetic pathway: C3.