A large family best known for its climbers but there are some very interesting herbaceous and perennial forms.
There are both deciduous and evergreen types, from Europe, China, the Americas.
Most perennial forms do not have tendrils and require support.
They grow from a woody base with slender stems carrying pairs of leaves of different shapes. The flowers are single, or in sprays and often followed by fluffy seed heads. They can be simple 4 petals up to 10 but mostly it is the sepals that are the coloured decorative part.