Herbs, shrubs or suffrutices. Stipules present. Leaves alternate or opposite. Inflorescences usually axillary, sometimes pseudumbellate. Flowers bisexual, 5-merous. Sepals 5, free, but in Pelargonium the upper one with a spur fused to the pedicel. Petals 5, free, rarely 0. Ovary superior, 3-5-locular, beaked (in ours). Fruit a dry 5-celled schizocarp with 1 seed per cell, each mericarp and its apical sterile beak separating from the column and splitting open at maturity in various ways.