The Violaceae are shrubs or herbs comprising about 16 genera and 800 species. The leaves are alternate or rarely opposite, and are simple; the stipules are minute or leafy. The flowers are bisexual, zygomorphic or sometimes actinomorphic, and sometimes cleistogamous. The perianth is differentiated into 5 distinct or nearly distinct imbricate sepals and 5 imbricate petals, the lowermost of which is commonly spurred. The androecium consists of 5, nearly sessile, distinct or connate stamens with anthers that are weakly coherent around the gynoecium. The two lowermost anthers commonly have nectariferous appendages that project backward into the spur of the lowermost petal. The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of 3-5 carpels, a single style, and a superior ovary with one locule containing 1-numerous ovules on each of 3-5 parietal placentae. The fruit is a capsule or berry.