Shrubby or rarely herbaceous half-parasites, usually more or less fleshy. Leaves simple, coriaceous, opposite, alternate or verticillate, sometimes reduced to scales. Stipules wanting. Flowers actinomorphic, hermaphrodite or unisexual, monoecious or dioecious, with slightly differentiated perianth or with sepals and petals and then 2—3-merous. Stamens as many as and opposite the tepals, more or less united with them or free; anthers usually 2-celled. Ovary inferior and usually sunken in the axis, mostly without differentiation of placenta and ovules; style one or wanting; stigma entire or lobed. Disk annular or wanting. Fruit drupaceous or baccate, with sticky pericarp. Seed one. Endosperm present. Embryo with 2 or 3—6 cotyledons. About 1300 species in c. 40 genera, mainly in the tropics.