Herbs, perennial, branched, with neither basal nor terminal aggregations of leaves. Stipules when present intrapetiolar, distinct, setaceous, caducous. Leaves alternate, spiral, sessile, nonsheathing, simple; leaf blade pinnately veined, margin dissected or entire and when dissected ± irregularly pinnatifid. Flowers solitary [or aggregated in inflorescences], 4- or 5-merous, hypogynous, disk present. Sepals 4 or 5, 1-whorled, persistent, valvate. Petals 4 or 5, white, 1-whorled, imbricate. Stamens 12 or 15, distinct, 3-whorled, alternating with and opposite petals; pollen grains aperturate. Ovary 2- or 3-locular, subsessile; style 1. Fruit a capsule or berry, fleshy or not fleshy. Seeds 10-100.
Two genera and ca. seven species: arid and semiarid regions of N Africa, Asia, S Europe, and North America; one genus and three species (one endemic) in China.
This family was included in Zygophyllaceae in FRPS. However, it differs from the Zygophyllaceae in many morphological characters. Molecular evidence also supports its recognition as a separate family.
A dye ("Turkey red"), produced from the seeds, is used for dyeing hats (tarbooshes).
Liou Yingxin. 1998. Peganum. In: Xu Langran & Huang Chengchiu, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 43(1): 123-125.