Sea-lavenders normally grow as herbaceous perennial plants, growing 10–70 cm tall from a rhizome a few (mainly from the Canary Islands) are woody shrubs up to 2 metres tall. Many species flourish in saline soils, and are therefore common near coasts and in salt marshes, and also on saline, gypsum and alkaline soils in continental interiors. The leaves are simple, entire to lobed, and from 1–30 cm long and 0.5–10 cm broad most of the leaves are produced in a dense basal rosette, with the flowering stems bearing only small brown scale-leaves (bracts). The flowers are produced on a branched panicle or corymb, the individual flowers are small(4–10 mm long) with a five-lobed calyx and corolla, and five stamens the flower colour is pink or violet to purple in most species, white or yellow in a few. Many of the species are apomictic. The fruit is a small capsule containing a single seed, partly enclosed by the persistent calyx.