Trees or shrubs, in Ficus often epiphytic and strangling, in Dorstenia herbs, laticiferous except for Cecropia. Leaves alternate, lamina entire or lobed, venation pinnate, palmate or radiate, stipules often amplexicaul. Plants monoecious or dioecious, flowers unisexual, close together in bisexual or unisexual inflorescences, being unbranched and spicate, globose, discoid, cyathiform or urceolate, but in Cecropia a digitate cluster of spikes enclosed by a spathe; tepals 4—0, stamens 4—1, stigmas 2—1, ovule 1, apical, but in Cecropia basal. Fruit an achene enclosed by an enlarged perianth or in Ficus by the receptacle, a fruit forming a drupaceaous whole with the perianth and/or the receptacle, or in Dorstenia a dehiscent drupelet. Seeds with endosperm and a small embryo or without endosperm and large embryo, in Sorocea one of the cotyledons strongly reduced. 900—1000 species in about 50 genera, mainly in tropical parts of the world. Cecropia is here treated under the Moraceae instead of the recently established family Cecropiaceae (see Taxon 27: 39. 1978).