POLYGONACEAE,  Smartweed Family

Herbaceous, sometimes vines, or rarely shrublike; leaves alternate, simple; stipules sheathing the stem (ocreae), these sometimes obsolete; Dowers hypogynous, usually bisporangiate, solitary, in clusters of a few, or in spikes, racemes, beads, or panicles; perianth regular or nearly so, deeply cleft into 3-6 parts (here called sepals) in 2 series; stamens 3-9; carpels 24, united; ovary 1-loculed., ovule 1; styles 2-3, wholly or partially united, or absent; stigmas capitate or a tuft of branches; fruit an achene, 3·angled or lenticular.