A family, mostly of herbs but including some shrubs, of plants that are frequently succulent, or covered with mealy hairs. The leaves are mostly simple and alternate. The flowers are inconspicuous, borne in dense clusters, bisexual or unisexual, tri- to pentamerous, and have a superior ovary of 1 cell. The fruits are 1-seeded nuts. Beta (beetroot, sugar beet) and Spinachia (spinach) are important vegetables or sources of sugar. There are about 120 genera, with 1300 species, cosmopolitan in distribution but occurring mainly in arid regions or saline habitats, and also as weeds in enriched cultivated or waste ground.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.