Herbs, mostly perennial, less frequently annual or biennial, very rarely subshrubs. Leaves opposite, or sometimes whorled, simple, entire or toothed, pinnatifid to pinnatisect. Inflorescences of compact cymes forming a terminal, involucral head, or diffuse and paniculiform (Triplostegia). Flowers bisexual, nearly always subtended by 1 or 2 cupular, apically toothed or subentire involucels (epicalyx); receptacle hairy or naked. Calyx usually small, cupular, or 4- or 5-segmented, or with up to 10 teeth or setae. Corolla sympetalous, 5(or 4)-lobed, ± irregular. Stamens 4, rarely 2 or 3, inserted at summit of corolla tube; anthers 4-sporangiate, opening by longitudinal slits. Gynoecium of 2 carpels, but 1 carpel obsolete; ovary inferior, 1-loculed; ovule solitary, apical, pendulous; style slender; stigma entire or 2-fid. Fruit an achene, enclosed by involucel and crowned by persistent calyx.
Ten genera and ca. 250 species: Africa, Asia, Europe; four genera and 17 species (four endemic) in China.
He Shi-yuan, Hsing Chi-hua & Yin Tsu-tang. 1986. Dipsacaceae. In: Lu An-ming & Chen Shu-kun, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 73(1): 44-84.He Shi-yuan, Hsing Chi-hua & Yin Tsu-tang. 1986. Dipsacaceae. In: Lu An-ming & Chen Shu-kun, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 73(1): 44-84.