herbs or shrubs, often of aquatic or swampy places. Leaves simple, alternate or
spirally arranged, entire or toothed. Flowers solitary, bisexual,
actinomorphic, rarely zygomorphic, epigynous. Calyx and corolla usually 4-5
lobed, calyx adnate to the ovary and petals free, rarely absent. Stamens as
many or twice as many as the sepals, anthers 2-celled. Ovary inferior, rarely
subinferior, usually 4-loculed, rarely 2- or 5-loculed, ovules 1-many, styles 1,
slender, stigma usually capitate. Fruits usually a loculicidal capsule or
berry, sometimes a nut.