Herbs, shrubs or lianas; stems arcuate. Leaves alternate, membranous, petiolate. Inflorescence of terminal and/or axillary cymes, thyrses or panicles, with spike-like branches bearing few-flowered cymules; bracts 3, stramineous, persistent, much shorter than perianth of lowest flower. Flowers bisexual or functionally unisexual, white or greenish; tepals 5, free, scarious, prominently veined, apiculate; stamens 5, filaments united below into a membranous cup, anthers 4-locular, staminodia absent; ovary at top with upturned rim, stigmas 2(-3). Fruit a dry, 1-seeded, circumscissile capsule; seed with prominent or inconspicuous aril.