Annual to perennating herbs, sometimes with tuberous tap roots; stem erect branched, usually hispid below with simple hairs. Leaves lyrate-pinnatifid, upper most often simply toothed. Racemes corymbose, becoming lax in fruit, ebracteate. Flowers large usually white or violet, rarely yellowish, pedicellate. Sepals erect, oblong, subequal, obtuse, inner pair somewhat saccate at the base. Petals large, obovate, long clawed, often dark-veined. Stamen filaments simple, linear; anthers oblong, obtuse. Lateral nectar glands minute depressed, middle subglobose or stalk-like. Ovary subulate, biarticulated; lower part short, sterile, upper long with 2-21 ovules; stigma small, capitate. Siliquae usually elongated, biarticulated; lower part very short, inconspicuous, stalk-like, slender, seedless; upper part elongated, + constricted between the seeds and apex narrowing ± into a seedless beak-like structure; pods breaking into 1-seeded joints at maturity, or cylindrical and breaking into parts (indehiscent) ; septum complete in the short sterile lower part; seeds ± spherical or ovoid, uniseriate, brownish; coty¬ledons conduplicate.
About 8 species mostly in the Mediterranean region; only 2 species are found in our area.