Herbs, undershrubs or shrubs. Leaves usually toothed or +/- deeply lobed. Inflorescences terminal, cymes 1-flowered with peduncles usually much shorter than leaves or peduncles, usually 2 per node, 3-7-flowered, cymes often as long as or longer than leaves; bracts leaf-like, usually becoming smaller towards apex of inflorescence. Calyx +/- as long as corolla tube, subequally 5-toothed. Corolla small, white, 5-lobed, lowermost lobe the largest, longer than tube, giving a 1-lipped appearance; tube short, hairy in throat. Stamens 4, ascending-arcuate between two upper corolla lobes, well exserted; filaments thread-like, villous at base; anthers 2-thecous. Ovary shortly 4-lobed; style slightly exceeding stamens, terete, 2-fid, lobes subequal. Nutlets obovoid, reticulate-rugose, attached by an oblique or lateral areole which extends beyond middle. x = 8, 10, 13 (9, 17) (aneuploids, polyploidy).
Species 100, widely distributed over the temperate and warmer regions of the world, mainly in the northern hemisphere; 3 in sthn Afr.: the northern provinces, Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and all along the coast to Bredasdorp (S Western Cape).