Description from Flora of China
Herbs, annual or perennial, aquatic. Roots usually flattened, thalloid or filiform. Leaves distichous, scattered, or imbricate, base often sheathed, margin entire or dissected. Flowers bisexual, solitary, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, enclosed or not by a spathella or spathella lacking. Tepals 2-5, free or ± connate. Stamens 1-4, hypogynous; filaments free or partially connate; anthers 2-4-loculed, longitudinally or irregularly dehiscent. Ovary superior, 2- or 3-loculed; ovules numerous, placenta central. Styles 2 or 3. Fruit a septicidal capsule. Seeds numerous, minute, without endosperm.
The plants live attached to submerged rocks or wood in rushing water in rapids or cataracts of streams and rivers. They are easily overlooked, and more field work is needed in China.
About 40 genera and 200 species: widespread in tropical regions, a few species in temperate regions: three genera and four species (two endemic) in China.
(Authors: Qiu Huaxing (邱华兴 Chiu Hua-hsing, Kiu Hua-xing) ; C. Thomas Philbrick)
Qiu Huaxing -- Department of Taxonomy, South China Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wushan, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510650, People’s Republic of China.
C. Thomas Philbrick -- George Safford Torrey Herbarium, Biological Sciences Group, University of Connecticut, Life Sciences U-43, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-3042, U.S.A.
Wu Te-lin. 1988. Podostemaceae. In: Kiu Hua-shing & Ling Yeou-ruenn, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 24: 1–5.