| 17 genera of which are 3 marine. Monoecious,
dioecious, gynodioecious or trioecious, annual or
perennial, freshwater or marine herbs. Stems elongate or
contracted, simple or complexly branched. Leaves very
variable, with or without petioles and stipules, with
(1-) 2-10 or more small scales (squamulae intravaginales)
in the leaf axils. Inflorescence complex or flowers
solitary, subtended by 1 or 2, free or united bracts
(collectively called a spathe). Flowers bisexual or
unisexual, the males sometimes abscising from the parent.
Sepals 3 or less, rarely absent. Petals 3 or less, minute
to large and showy, or absent. Stamens 1 to numerous,
often staminodial. Ovary inferior, 3-20 or more carpels;
placentas parietal or without dissepiments; styles simple
or forked ; fuit a berry or capsule.
© Christopher D.K. Cook