A large family of herbs and shrubs, some of which are epiphytic (see epiphyte). The leaves are simple, opposite, alternate, or basal. The flowers are irregular, borne in inflorescences or singly, with 5 sepals and 5 petals forming a tube. Many are pollinated by humming-birds. The fruits are usually capsules. The family includes many ornamentals (e.g. African violets and gloxinias). There are 146 genera, with about 2400 species, mostly tropical, mainly Old World.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.