Most species in this family are perennial herbaceous plants, but a few grow as lianas or shrubs. The plants have perfect flowers and are pollinated by insects. They are found in many different climatic regions, from arctic to tropical conditions, but are particularly associated with salt-rich steppes, marshes, and sea coasts. The family has been recognized by most taxonomists. The APG II system (2003; unchanged from the APG system of 1998), recognizes this family and assigns it to the order Caryophyllales in the clade core eudicots. It includes 24 genera and about 800 species.