Shrubs or small trees, usually dioecious. Leaves in Malesian species simple, glabrous or hairy, smooth, entire, the base symmetrical, long decurrent into the short petiole; Inflorescences axillary or terminal. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, regular. Sepals (3) 4 or 5 (Malesian species), free, valvate, at base often slightly imbricate, all about equal, spreading in male flowers, erect to finally reflexed and caducous in female and bisexual flowers, not petaloid, entire, glandular and glabrous to sparsely hairy outside, along the margin tomentose-ciliate, glabrous to densely hairy inside. Petals absent. Stamens 5-15, not exserted; Ovary densely glandular, 2-4-locular (Malesian species); Fruit in Malesian species a winged septifragal capsule, smooth, glabrous or slightly hairy, sparsely glandular, glabrous inside; Seeds attached on a swollen funicle, subglobular, c. 2.5 mm in diam., smooth, black, slightly swollen around the hilum.
Asia-Tropical:, New Guinea present Australasia: Madagascar: present Pantropical: present Southern America: subtropics: present
About 65 species, mainly restricted to Australia, 3 species occurring in Malesia also, of which D. polyandra is restricted to only a small part of New Guinea, D. viscosa is pantropical, and D. angustifolia penetrates into the subtropics in several places. Also outside Australia, D. elaeagnoides is endemic in the Caribbean and D. mada-gascariensis is endemic in Madagascar.
Due to the sticky glands paper fibres may stick to the herbarium specimens and may resemble hairs, even though the plants are glabrous. Take care!