Big lianas to straggling shrubs. Leaves alternate or distichous, petioled. Inflorescences raceme-like or usually paniculate, (supra-) axillary or terminal, at the nodes usually with a pair of protruding glands; Sepals 5, unequal, caducous before fruit-setting, ciliate, the lateral ones (alae) at least twice as large as the other ones and petaloid, unguiculate, auriculate. Petals 3, halfway adnate to the staminal tube or with an additional pair of reduced petals; Stamens 8, monadelphous; Ovary asymmetrical, 1-celled (by abortion of the second cell), 1-ovuled; Fruit a samara with a coriaceous wing (wing sometimes reduced), sometimes a second reduced wing present. Seed inappendiculate, glabrous, with thick cotyledons.
Asia-Tropical: Australasia: South and Central America: present Southeast Asia: present Tropical Africa: present
About 80 species, mainly in South and Central America, some in tropical Africa and in Southeast Asia and Malesia; not in Australia.