Shrub or undershrubs, rarely trees or herbs with slender branches, mostly halophytic, rarely xerophytic in nature. Leaves mostly small, sometimes scale-like, alternate, often sessile, rarely subsessile, mostly fleshy with punctate glands, estipulate. Inflorescence solitary axillary (Reaumurieae) or simple racemes, panicles or spikes (Tamarisceae). Flowers mostly small, bisexual, rarely unisexual then plants dioecious, hypogynous, penta or tetramerous. Sepals 5 or 4, free or slightly connate at base with imbricate aestivation, persistent. Petals 5 or 4, imbricate, free or very shortly connate, inserted below the disc, mostly elliptic-obovate, rarely ovate or orbicular. Stamens 4-10 (-12-14) or numerous, inserted on or below the disc, free or basally connate, monadelphous, or in 5 fascicles. Anther 2-celled, obtuse or apiculate, dehiscing by longitudinal slit; pollen grains tricolpate, with smooth wall. Disc of various types and shapes, mostly fleshy and nectiferous. Pistil 1, ovary unilocular, or imperfectly septate, shortly stipitate, placentas 3-5, arising from the base; ovules 2-many on each placenta, erect, anatropous. Sytles 3-5, short or absent, stigma capitate. Fruit capsule, 3-5 angled, pyramidal, dehiscing by 3-5 valves from apex to the base. Seeds numerous, erect, densely covered with long hairs all over or produced into a pilose stipe, endospermic (Reaumurieae) or non endospermic, (Tamarisceae) with straight embryo and flat cotyledons.
A small family with 4 genera and about 110 species, distributed in temperate regions, usually in sandy tracts and maritime deserts of Asia, Africa and Europe; represented in Pakistan by all the 4 genera and 36 taxa.
Acknowledgements: I am highly indebted to the Directors, Librarians and the other staff members of the following herbaria for herbarium and library faciliteis: KUH, RAW, PFI-B, B, BM, C, E, G, K, LINN, LIV, P and W.
It is a matter of pleasure to express my gratitudes to Dr. S. I. Ali, Dr. S.M.H. Jafri, Messers. A. Ghafoor, Sultanul Abedin, S. M. Haroon Usmani, S. Sadruddin Hussain and Abrar Hussain for their guidance, advice help and cooperation. The financial assistance received from United States Department of Agriculture under P.L. 480, is gratefully acknowledged.