Shrubs or perennial erect or straggling herbs, glabrous and aromatic; Leaves decussate, or sometimes subverticillate in whorls of 4, serrate; Flowers essentially bisexual, the male part usually a 3-lobed organ adnate to the ovary and sometimes enveloping it forming a fleshy mass, the lobes ('connectives') short and broad or longer or distinctly narrow and elongate, in some species almost or quite free, or in one species not noticeably lobed and reduced to ± nothing but 1-3 anthers; Ovary naked; Seeds subglobose, minutely apiculate, narrowed below, invested by the thin fibrous endocarp, the seed-coat with a lignified endotestal palisade.
Asia-Temperate: Asia-Tropical:, India present; New Guinea present Ceylon: present Japan: present extreme East U.S.S.R: present
About 20 spp. extending from Japan, China and extreme East U.S.S.R. to India, Ceylon and Malesia as far as New Guinea.
Various authors have advanced subdivisions but there is no unanimity of opinion and this will have to wait for a monograph of the entire genus.
THUNB. - in Nova Acta Soc. Sc. Upsal. 1815: t. 5
FANG Wu-Kuo - in Acta Phytotax. Sin. 1980: 220
SOLMS-LAUB. - in DC., Prod. 16. 1869: 473
SWAMY - in J. Arn. Arb. 1953: 375
THUNB., Fl. Jap. 1784: 65
ARMOUR - in New Phytol. 1906: pl. 3 & 4
BENTH. - in B. & H., Gen. Pl. 3. 1880: 134
cf. STEEN. - Essays in Biohistory etc. in Regn. Veget. 1970: 376
MAEKAWA - in J. Jap. Bot. 1970: f. 1-5