Herbs or subshrubs, annual or perennial. Stems erect or clambering-straggling. Leaves alternate, petiolate; blade mostly lanceolate, ovate, or deltate. Inflorescences terminal and often axillary spikes or panicles, often fasciated in cultivated forms, many-flowered. Flowers bisexual; tepals 3-5, distinct, membranous or scarious, usually glabrous; filaments connate basally into cups; anthers 4-locular; pseudostaminodes absent; ovules 3-many; style persistent, 0.2-4 mm; stigmas 2-3, capitate or subulate. Utricles ovoid, membranaceous, dehiscence centrally circumscissile. Seeds (2-)3-many, black, flattened. x = 9.
Fls perfect; sep 5, distinct, erect, scarious, striate; stamens 5, connate at base; ovary subglobose; ovules 2-several; style none to elongate; stigmas capitate or subulate; utricle usually circumscissile at the middle; seeds 2-several, lenticular; annual or perennial herbs, or shrubs in the tropics, with alternate, petiolate, entire or lobed lvs; fls in terminal or axillary spikes or axillary glomerules; commonly white, silvery, or colored. 60, widespread.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
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