Shrubs or trees. Leaves spiral, paripinnate, 1-7-jugate, petioled. Stipules axillary, enveloping the bud, usually caducous. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, or on older branches, often rather dense, corymbose or paniculate, usually many-flowered; bracts caducous or persistent; bracteoles (sub)opposite, often coloured and showy; pedicels very short. Flowers bisexual, or functionally male (with short, small, sterile or rudimentary pistil), distinctly (or sometimes not) articulated at the base. Petals absent. Stamens (3 or) 4-8(-10) fertile, in one whorl; filaments free or united at the base into a thin rim or ring-like, more or less equal in length, exserted; anthers ellipsoid, oblong, or broadly ovoid, dorsifixed, introrse, often shortly hairy at apex and/or base, rarely also on the back, or glabrous; staminodes dentate or rarely subulate when present. Seeds ovoid, ellipsoid, or subglobose, smooth, compressed or subterete, exarillate, exalbumi- nous.
Asia-Temperate: Asia-Tropical:, Bangladesh (Bangladesh ‒ present); Borneo ‒ present; Cambodia (Cambodia ‒ present); India ‒ present; Jawa (Jawa ‒ present); Laos (Laos ‒ present); Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia ‒ present); Maluku (Maluku ‒ present); Philippines (Philippines ‒ present); Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka ‒ present); Sulawesi (Sulawesi ‒ present); Sumatera (Sumatera ‒ present); Thailand (Thailand ‒ present); Vietnam (Vietnam ‒ present) Burma: present Papua New Guinea: present the Lesser Sunda Islands: present
A genus of c. 11 closely allied species distributed in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China; Malesia with 7 indigenous and 1 introduced species: Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Java, Celebes, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Moluccas., Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
The anthers are often (sparsely) hairy at one or both ends, which can be seen as a distinct character for the genus. The number of ovules in the ovary has often been recorded as numerous or as many (e.g. Zuijderhoudt, l.c.). However, the number of ovules is only 2 in Saraca hullettii and (4-)6-8(-12) in other species.
Trees of some species are cultivated in gardens for ornamental purpose. The trees are rather small, so the wood is only used for small utensils.