Description from Flora of China
Herbs, perennial, with thickened creeping rhizomes and coarse fibrous roots; rhizomes formed of distinct annual increments, producing stout 2(or 3)-leaved stem separating at base in autumn along marked articulation, leaving broad bowl-like excavation on rhizome. Leaves alternate; blade petiolate and peltate [except in Diphylleia grayi F. Schmidt, in which upper leaf sessile or subsessile and attached at sinus], transversely oblong to reniform-orbicular, pubescent or sparsely pubescent with unicellular hairs, palmately veined with main veins connected by secondary reticulate veins, 2-cleft with divisions shallowly to coarsely lobed and prominently dentate. Inflorescence terminal, pedunculate, usually a many-flowered cyme or umbel; branches glabrous or pubescent. Flowers pedicellate, actinomorphic, 3-merous. Sepals 6 in 2(or 3) whorls, white or pale green. Petals 6 in 2 whorls, white. Stamens opposite petals; anthers basifixed, longitudinally dehiscent; thecae separating from connective and ultimately attached only at apex; pollen conspicuously spiny. Ovary ellipsoid, 1-loculed; placentation parietal near base of ovary; ovules 2-11, anatropous; style absent or short and thickened; stigma peltate, cristate. Fruit berries, dark blue or purplish black, glaucous, globose or broadly ellipsoid. Seeds reddish brown, oblong to ovoid. n = 6.
Three species: discontinuous distribution in E Asia and SE North America; one species (endemic) in China.
(Authors: Ying Junsheng (应俊生 Ying Tsun-shen); David E. Boufford, Anthony R. Brach)