Subshrubs [herbs, shrubs], perennial or rarely annual or biennial, usually succulent, sometimes hairy or prickly. Roots fibrous [tuberous]. Stems prostrate-creeping [erect, decumbent]. Leaves cauline, opposite, sessile; stipules absent; blade variable, slightly connate basally or distinct, broadly triangular to cylindric, linear, or rarely flat, finely papillate. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, flowers solitary or in cymes, pedicillate; bracts 2, leaflike. Flowers showy, tubular, 1.5–8 cm diam.; calyx lobes 5, green, linear, unequal; petals (often including petaloid staminodia) 60–100 in few series, distinct, free, white, yellow, or red; nectary glands 5, distinct or rarely connate; stamens ca. 100, inner stamens erect, whitish; pistil (4–)5(–6)-carpellate; ovary inferior, (4–)5(–6)-loculed, slightly convex; placentation parietal; style absent; stigmas (4–)5(–6), subulate, sometimes caudate, apex acute, papillate. Fruits capsules, persistent, keels interior, expanding, usually with papery, marginal wings, membrane covering seed absent, dehiscence loculicidal, not separating into segments, not reclosing. Seeds ca. 100, pale brown, roundish, sometimes arillate, 5–15 mm, smooth to slightly textured.
Introduced; South Africa, also introduced in Asia.
Species 163 (1 in the flora).
Delosperma capsules are the simplest in the family.