Trees (Malesian species), monoecious or dioecious. Leaves spirally arranged or partly decussate, unifolio-late or paripinnate, 1-6-jugate, Malesian species without pseudostipules, neither petiole nor rachis winged. Inflorescences terminal and usually in the upper leaf-axils, thyrsoid or paniculate with few spreading branches. Flowers actinomorphic, unisexual, if monoecious male and female ones in the same inflorescence. Sepals 4 or 5, connate at base, valvate to narrowly imbricate in bud, spreading during and persistent and recoiled after anthesis, equal, deltoid, not petaloid, outside densely tomen-tose, inside in Malesian species variably tomentose. Petals in Malesian species absent. Stamens 4-8 (Malesian species 6 or 7), equal, exserted, glabrous; Fruit svariable, indehiscent with a thick pericarp and membranous to thin-crustaceous endocarp, wings absent. Seeds with a thin-crustaceous testa, closely adhering to the endocarp, no arillode.
Asia-Tropical:, Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka ‒ present) Madagascar: present Tropical Africa: present
8 species, 3 of which in tropical Africa, 1 in Madagascar, 1 in Sri Lanka, and 3 in Malesia.
The present genus clearly belongs to the general relationship of Lepisanthes. Its nearest allies seem to be the African genera Placodiscus Radlk. (mainly different by the sepals being connate higher up and by the pistil being constantly 3-merous) and Chono-petalum Radlk. (different by the presence of petals). The wide but scattered distribution of Glenniea is peculiar.