Shrubs or small or sometimes quite large trees, usually apparently dioecious or monoecious, glabrous, aromatic, the branches jointed at the nodes and the bases of the internodes sometimes swollen. Leaves decussate, often coriaceous, obtusely serrate, the serrations often gland-tipped; Flowers basically in much condensed biparous sessile cymes borne in the axil of a bract with an abaxial male flower and 1 or 2 adaxial female flowers with bracts and bracteoles (if 2-flowered), essentially representing a bisexual flower; Fruits purplish grey turning black, obovoid, with thin succulent exocarp and stony smooth or verrucose unspecialised endocarp; Seeds ovoid, flattened, with smooth testa, the seed coat with unlignified endotestal palisade but with lignified fibrous exotegmen.
Asia-Tropical:, Borneo present; New Guinea present; Philippines (Philippines present); Sulawesi (Sulawesi present) Madagascar: present New Caledonia: present New Zealand: present Pacific Islands: present Solomons: present
12 species in Madagascar, Pacific Islands (widespread from Solomons to the Marquesas), New Caledonia and New Zealand; in Malesia 4 spp.: Borneo, Celebes, Philippines, New Guinea. .
The species of sect. Ascarina fall into two groups, a predominantly western Pacific group with a single bract subtending the flower and male flowers with two stamens and the other mostly eastern Pacific group with 3 bracts and 1 stamen.
v. BALGOOY - in Blumea. 1966: map 64
A.C. SMITH - in Fl. Vit. Nova. 1981: 98
JEREMIE - in Fl. NOUV. Caléd. et Dép. 1982: 171
RAWLINGS - in J. New Zeal. Bot. 1974: 564
JEREMIE - in Adansonia. 1980: 273
J.R. & G. FORST., Char. Gen., ed. 2. 1776: 117
AUBRÉV. - in Adansonia. 1976: 302
SOLMS-LAUB. - in DC., Prod. 16. 1869: 477
BENTH. - in B. & H., Gen. Pl. 3. 1880: 134
CORDEMOY - in Adansonia. 1863: 302
MOORE - in J. New Zeal. Bot. 1977: 491
SWAMY - in Proc. Nat. Inst. Sc. India. 1953: 371
A.C. SMITH - in J. Arn. Arb. 1976: 405