The family widely distributed in the tropics.  Mostly erect, creeping or acaulescent succulent monoeciuous herbs stems somewhat jointed, leaves alternate, mostly 2 ranked, simple, mostly palmately nerved and often lobed, petioled, the base oblieque, the stipules caduceus, flowers unisexual, the perianth of staminate flowers of 2 valvate petaloid sepals and 2 usually smaller valvate  petaloid sepals and 2 usually smaller valvate petals and that of pistillate flowers of 2-many similar imbricated petaloid tapals; stamens numerous, in many whorls, distinct or briefly connate basally, the anthers 2 celled, basifixed, a connective often exserted, dehiscing longitudinally; pistil 1, the ovary inferior, often 1-3 winged, the locules 3, the carpels typically 3 , the placentaion usually axile, the ovules numerous on simple or lobed placentae, anatropous, the styles 2-5, distinct or basally connate, the stigmas strongly papillose on the all sides and often twisted; fruit a loculicidal, bony capsule or rarely a berry; seeds with straight oily embryo and no endosperm.