Trees or shrubs, containing a milky juice, trunks usually unbranched and with pulpy wood. Leaves in a terminal crown, alternate, entire, palmately-lobed, palmatifid or palmately compound. Stipules wanting. Flowers unisexual (or hermaphrodite), actinomorphic, greenish, yellow or white. Calyx small 5-lobed or entire. Male flowers in panicles; corolla tubular or funnel-shaped, the lobes ovate or linear; stamens 10, inserted on the throat of the corolla; filaments free or united at the base; anthers 2-celled, introrse; ovary rudimentary or wanting. Female flowers solitary or in few-flowered cymose panicles; petals free or shortly united; ovary superior, free, sessile, ovoid, 1- or 5-celled; style short; stigmas 5, simple or lobed; ovules numerous on 3—5 parietal placentas. Fruit a berry seeds numerous flattened, with a roughened testa; embryo straight; endosperm present. About 45 species in 4 genera, mainly in tropical America.