Perennial rhizomatous herbs. Leaves pinnate, stipulate; stipules usually much divided. Flowers in racemes or panicles. Sepals and petals 5. Stamens 10, at the base fleshy, connate. Ovary 5-lobed, 5-locular, with a solitary pendulous ovule in each locule. Styles 5, connate above to form the stigma, gynobasic. Capsule not beaked.
Closely allied to the Geraniaceae (and often included in it), from which it differs in yellow flowers borne in racemes or panicles, the gynobasic style and a fruit which is not beaked. Palynological studies by Borten-Schlager (Grana Palynol. 7:420-1. 1967) showed that it was anomalous in the Geraniaceae and merited independent family status; he also pointed out that it had some similarities to Rosaceae -Potentilleae.