Trees or shrubs, with milky juice, glabrous. Leaves alternate or opposite, petiolate; stipules small, caducous; leaf blade entire or serrulate, penninerved. Flowers unisexual (plants monoecious or dioecious), apetalous, without disk, in axillary or terminal racemelike thyrses. Male flowers (sub)sessile; sepals 3, small, imbricate, free; stamens 3; filaments free; anthers longitudinally dehiscent, without pistillode. Female flowers sessile to pedicellate; calyx 3-lobed or 3-partite; ovary 3-celled, smooth; ovules 1 per locule; stigmas extended or recurved, free to slightly connate at base, undivided, eglandular. Capsules dehiscent into 2-valved cocci; columella persistent, winged. Seeds globose, estrophiolate; episperm crustaceous; endosperm fleshy; cotyledon broad and flattened.
About 35 species: Africa, Asia, Australia, Pacific islands; five species (two endemic) in China.