Trees or shrubs, bisexual (Mal.). Leaves spiral, entire and slightly revolute at the edge (Mal.), petiolate. Inflorescences terminal and/or (supra-)axillary, paniculate or thyrsoid, cymes of secondary branches scorpioid, whether or not forked, in Mal. greyish to rusty hirsute. Flowers 5-merous, sessile, subtended by a minute bract. Petals free, valvate, or subimbricate in the upper part, apex inflexed, midrib inside much prominent, sometimes wing-like. Stamens 5, free; Ovary subgibbous, 1-celled, rarely 2-celled by the presence of a pseudoloculus. Seed 1, longitudinally plicate around the vertical pseudoloculus, hippocrepiform;
Asia-Tropical: Australasia:, New South Wales (New South Wales ‒ present); Queensland (Queensland ‒ present) Loyalty Is: present New Caledonia: present New Hebrides: present Pacific:, Fiji (Fiji ‒ present); Samoa (Samoa ‒ present) Solomon Is: present Tonga Is: present tropical Central and South America: present
About 21 spp. of which c. 12 occur in tropical Central and South America, and 6 spp. in Australia (New South Wales, Queensland), Solomon Is., New Caledonia, Loyalty Is., New Hebrides, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga Is.; in Malesia 3 spp. .
The genus was revised by R. A. HOWARD (). The inflorescence and floral characters used there to separate the Malesian spp. have been found of little value after a reinvestigation on the base of much more material than seen by HOWARD. This is the reason why in the key fruit characters have been preferred for the discrimination of species. HOWARD keeps the New World spp. apart from the Old World ones on the sectional level; the characters given for the discrimination of these sections are rather vague or do not hold.