Trees or erect or climbing shrubs, mostly glabrous. Leaves alternate, simple and mostly entire. Stipules wanting. Flowers small, actinomorphic, usually hermaphrodite, arranged in various inflorescences. Calyx minute, rarely obsolete, often accrescent, 4—6, usually 5-lobed, imbricate or open in bud. Petals (4—) 5 (—6), free or united, valvate. Stamens 4—12 in one row and then epipetalous or in 2 or 3 rows; filaments free or rarely connate, often united with the petals, some occasionally without anthers; anthers 2-celled, opening longitudinally or by pore-like slits. Disk present and then often annular or wanting. Ovary superior, sometimes inferior, completely or only at the base 2—5-locular; style 1; stigma simple or 2—5-lobed. Ovules on a central, filiform placenta, solitary in each cell, pendulous, anatropous or atropous, with 2—0 integuments. Fruit a berry or a drupe, 1-seeded. Seeds with copious endosperm and a small embryo. About 250 species in 26 genera in the tropics.