A genus of herbs and small shrubs most of which are halophytes. The stems are often striated which red or white, and the plant is often mealy. The leaves are alternate, toothed or lobed, linear or triangular, and without stipules. The flowers are inconspicuous, unisexual, and held in small cymes. The perianth of the male flower is composed of 2–5 segments, usually green in colour, and there is a similar number of stamens. The female flower is without any perianth, but is enclosed by 2 persistent bracteoles, which can be entire or lobed. The superior ovary is composed of 3 fused carpels, and a single locule with one ovule. The fruit is an achene. There are about 100 species, found throughout the world, often as components of open communities or grassland, on saline soils (e.g. in coastal areas).
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.