Herbs [shrubs], annual, biennial, or perennial; usually glabrous, sometimes puberulent (producing glucosinolates). Stems erect or ascending; unbranched or branched. Leaves cauline and sometimes basal; rosulate or not; alternate, sometimes fasciculate, simple; venation pinnate; stipules present (modified into glands, interpetiolar, distinct); petiole present; blade (sometimes pinnately lobed, base somewhat decurrent on petioles) margins entire, pinnatisect, or with 1-2 hyaline teeth. Inflorescences usually terminal, sometimes axillary, racemes or spikes; bracts present. Pedicels present or absent. Flowers bisexual [unisexual or polygamous], ± zygomorphic (almost actinomorphic); perianth and androecium hypogynous [rarely perigynous]; sepals persistent or deciduous, 2-6[-8], distinct or basally connate, equal or unequal, margins usually hyaline; petals [0-]2-6(-8), imbricate, distinct or connate, rotate, attached to receptacle, heteromorphic, lateral and abaxial (anterior) usually progressively smaller, adaxial (superior) ones larger, clawed, margins entire or incised; intrastaminal nectary-discs present or absent, asymmetrical, simple [double]; stamens 3-40 (adaxial ones shorter); filaments persistent or deciduous, distinct or basally connate, glabrous or scaberulous; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits, introrse, tetrasporangiate (pollen shed as single grain), binucleate, commonly 3-aperturate, colpate or colporate; pistils [2-]3-4[-6(-8)], connate [distinct or basally connate] (± open apically), each with an apical tooth (style and stigma) containing stigmatic tissue; ovary [2 or] 3 or 4 [6(-8)]; (placentation parietal [basal-axial or marginal], placenta usually entire, sometimes apically forked; ovules 1-many per locule, campylotropous, bitegmic. Fruits capsules [sometimes free carpidia], valvate [fleshy], cylindric, ovoid-oblong, subglobose, or ovoid, ± open apically; gynophore present (sometimes minute, hidden by surrounding disc). Seeds 3-ca. 30, brownish or dark brown to black, reniform, papillose, rugose, or smooth; not arillate; endosperm scanty or none; cotyledons incumbent.