Plants perennial, often densely matted, usually with branched, woody base. Taproots slender or usually stout; rhizomes absent. Stems prostrate (nonflowering stems) or ascending to erect (flowering stems), simple or branched, terete. Leaves usually congested at or near base of flowering stems, usually connate, mostly sessile; blade 1-veined, needlelike or filiform to subulate or narrowly linear, succulent or not, apex blunt to usually apiculate or spinose. Inflorescences terminal, open to congested or umbellate cymes or sometimes flowers solitary; bracts paired (or clustered at summit of peduncle in some E. congesta varieties), reduced, foliaceous or scarious. Pedicels erect or flowers sessile. Flowers: perianth and androecium weakly perigynous; hypanthium shallowly cup-shaped; sepals 5, distinct or barely connate proximally, green (sometimes purplish in E. capillaris and E. eastwoodiae), linear-lanceolate to ovate, 1.8-12 mm, margins white, scarious, apex obtuse or rounded to acute, acuminate, or spinose, not hooded; petals 5, white, yellowish white, or occasionally pink or brownish, clawed or not, blade apex entire, erose, emarginate, or rarely 2-fid; nectaries usually 5, prominent at (or adjacent to in E. eastwoodiae) base of filaments opposite sepals, rarely absent; stamens 10, arising from hypanthium; filaments distinct; staminodes absent; styles 3, filiform, 2.5-3 mm, glabrous proximally; stigmas 3, subcapitate, smooth to papillate (50×). Capsules ovoid to urceolate, opening by 6 ascending to recurved teeth; carpophore present or usually absent. Seeds 1-10, dark reddish or greenish brown, tan, blackish purple, black, or gray, ovoid to pyriform or suborbicular, laterally compressed, smooth, rugulose, or tuberculate, marginal wing absent, appendage absent. x = 11.