Trees and shrubs, sometimes scrambling vines, often armed; young branches pubescent, soon becoming glabrous; spines, when present, axillary and/or produced at tip of a patent branch. Leaves opposite or subopposite, petiolate, entire, glabrous or pubescent. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, sessile or pedunculate, few- to many-flowered, paniculate or corymbiform cymes, sometimes umbelliform or thyrsiform, often borne on modified short shoots. Flowers unisexual, dioecious, exinvolucrate; sessile or pedicellate, 2-3-bracteolate, bracteoles often spirally arranged around the pedicel. Male perianth turbinate or obconic-campanulate, with 5-toothed limb, teeth induplicate-valvate; stamens 6-8(-10), exserted, filaments filiform, connate at base, basifixed or dorsifixed, pollen tricolpate; ovary rudimentary. Female perianth tubular to narrowly campanulate or urceolate, with 5-toothed limb; staminodes present, almost as long as ovary or reduced to a disc; style filiform, slightly longer than perianth, stigma fimbriate, ovule basal, anacampylotropous. Anthocarps dry or fleshy, ellipsoid, oblongoid, obovoid or clavate, with accrescent perianth, terete and costate or 5-angled or -ribbed, with viscid stipitate glands in 1-2(-more) rows along costae, angles or ribs, glands with secretive stalk, head not secretive; seed adherent to pericarp, with deep longitudinal furrow, testa hyaline, embryo straight, cotyledons involute, endosperm scanty, perisperm abundant, mealy, radicle short, inferior.