Trees, shrubs or climbers, rarely herbs. Leaves opposite or in whorls or spirally arranged. Inflorescence cymose, flowers rarely solitary; Flowers 5-merous, rarely 4-merous (in Leuconotis and occasionally in Alyxia kabaenae); Sepals with or without colleters inside. Stamens inserted on the inside of the corolla tube; Fruit dehiscent or indehiscent; a drupe, berry, capsule or follicle. Seeds simple, arillate, winged, or with a ciliate margin.