Description from Flora of China
Shrubs or small trees, sometimes climbing, deciduous or evergreen; branchlets conspicuously pithy, most often glabrous, occasionally puberulous when young. Winter buds small, with 2-4 scales. Leaves simple, alternate; stipules caducous, linear-lanceolate; leaf blade membranous to leathery, margin serrate. Racemes or spikes axillary, erect or nodding. Flowers small, regular, bisexual, or plant dioecious, shortly pedicellate or sessile; bracteoles connate at base. Sepals 4, imbricate. Petals 4, imbricate. Stamens 8 in 2 series; filaments subulate; anthers versatile, introrsely longitudinally dehiscent. Ovary superior, 4-loculed; ovules numerous on intrusive-parietal placentae; style short; stigma capitate, shallowly 4-lobed. Fruit a berry, pericarp leathery. Seeds numerous, small, with soft arils; endosperm fleshy; embryo straight; cotyledons elliptic; radicle short. 2n = 24.
Although the familial status of the Stachyuraceae has been generally accepted, its systematic position has been long controversial. It was considered related to Actinidiaceae, Clethraceae, Crossosomataceae, Flacourtiaceae, Hamamelidaceae, Staphyleaceae, Theaceae, or Violaceae by different authors based on evidence from embryology, seed anatomy, wood anatomy, palynology, or rbcL sequence data.
The reader may also wish to refer to two other recent studies of the family, by Chen (Acta Bot. Yunnan. 3: 125-137. 1981) and Tang et al. (Acta Phytotax. Sin. 21: 236-253. 1983).
Shan Hanrong. 1999. Stachyuraceae. In: Ku Tsuechih, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 52(1): 81-96.
One genus and ca. eight species: E Asia; seven species (four endemic) in China.
(Authors: Yang Qiner (杨亲二); Peter F. Stevens)