Herbs, subshrubs, or shrubs. Leaves simple, small, opposite, petiolate [or sessile], with salt glands; paired leaves united at base by sheathing margins; leaf blade flattened [to subterete], margin entire, slightly to gradually [to strongly] revolute. Flowers hermaphroditic [rarely unisexual], small, actinomorphic, sessile, subtended by [2 or]4 leaflike floral bracts, solitary or clustered in terminal or axillary, simple or compound dichasia (frequently with some monochasial branching). Calyx persistent, tubular, ribbed, [4 or]5[-7]-dentate. Petals [4 or]5[-7], free, imbricate, with spreading limb, clawed at base, with a scalelike appendage or ligule present [rarely absent] on adaxial face of claw. Stamens [3-]6[to many]; filaments free or slightly united at base; anthers 2-thecate, extrose, longitudinally dehiscent. Pistil 1, consisting of (1-)3(or 4) carpels; ovary superior, 1-loculed; ovules numerous on parietal placentas [to fewer, rarely 1]; style solitary, slender; style branches [1-]3[or 4], as many as carpels. Capsule included in persistent calyx, loculicidally dehiscent. Seeds [1 to] numerous, small; testa thinly crustaceous; embryo immersed in endosperm.
One genus and ca. 70 species: N and S Africa, C and SW Asia, Atlantic islands, Australia, Europe, North and South America; one species in China.
Zhang Pengyun & Zhang Yaojia. 1990. Frankeniaceae. In: Li Hsiwen, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 50(2): 139-141.