Shrubs, rarely trees. Stems intricately branched, often spinescent; ?bark becoming finely and irregularly grooved, usually peeling in thin longitudinal plates?. Leaves deciduous or drought-deciduous, cauline, alternate or opposite, sometimes appearing fasciculate on short shoots, simple; stipules absent or relatively small; petiole absent or short, ?base usually slightly expanded, thickened and persistent (in Glossopetalon)?; blade herbaceous to slightly coriaceous, margins entire or apically 2–3-lobed (in Apacheria). Inflorescences terminal on short shoots, sometimes axillary or appearing so, usually flowers solitary, occasionally 2–3-flowered clusters (in Glossopetalon), ?short shoots or pedicels usually with minute, scarious or hardened bractlike structures at base?. Flowers bisexual, perianth and androecium perigynous; epicalyx bractlet absent; hypanthium saucer-shaped to shallowly cup-shaped [narrowly funnelform (in Velascoa)]; sepals (3–)4–5(–6), distinct; petals (3–)4–5(–6), distinct, ?base often short-clawed?; nectar disc absent or crenately lobed, ?fleshy or thin?; stamens 4–50, distinct, ?sometimes unequal in length, anthers attached at or near bases, yellow, dehiscing by longitudinal slits?; pistils 1–9, ?distinct, free, short-stipitate or sessile?, styles ?usually ± oblique?, often indistinct, stigmas capitate or relatively short, sometimes linear, ventrally decurrent; ovules 1–22+. Fruits follicles, ?angled or short-tapered at both ends, coriaceous?. Seeds 1–22 per follicle, arillate.