Plants of the World Online (Kew) accepts 21 genera and Mabberley 30.
It is divided into two sub-families with 600 to 710 species:
    Plumbaginoideae have inflorescences that are a spike, raceme or head.
      The best known example is Plumbago and
    Limonoideae (Staticoideae, Armerioideae) includes Armeria and Limonium.
These 3 species are commonly seen plants either in the garden or as cut flowers.

Most species are perennial herbs or sub-shrubs with some woody scramblers or vines (lianas).
The alternate, spirally arranged leaves are often in a basal rosette.
Leaves may or may not be a petiole and there are no stipules.
The simple leaves may have a smooth or lobed edge and there is sometimes a basal lobe or auricle.
The leaves usually have glands, sometimes depressed, that exude water and calcium salts.
There may be hairs and the veins are pinnate.

The variously branched inflorescences are mostly terminal with some axillary.
Most are cymose with the terminal flower on each branch opening first.
There are bracts at the base of the inflorescence stalk (peduncle) and 2 (1) bracteoles on the flower stalks (pedicels).
The bisexual, radially symmetric flowers have parts in fives.

The sepal bases are fused into a tube or funnel.
It has nerves (ribs) that extend into (4) 5 or 10 (15) teeth or lobes.
The often petal-like tissue between the ribs is commonly thin and membranous.
There may by glandular hairs.

The petals may be free, joined at base for a short distance or form a sometimes long tube or funnel.
There are 4 or 5 overlapping lobes.

The (4) 5 stamens, opposite the petal lobes are free or attached to the base of the corolla.
The dorsifixed anthers open through longitudinal slits.
There is no nectary disc.

The superior ovary, of 5 fused carpels has one locule.
The placenta is basal but the single ovule is on a long stalk and hangs down.
The 5 styles, often of different lengths may be free or fused with 1 or 5 stigma lobes.

The fruit are an achene (dry and indehiscent) or a variously opening capsule.
They are often partly or fully enclosed by the calyx and sometimes other parts.
There may be glandular hairs.
The single seed is often winged.