Trees, shrubs or lianas, rarely herbs. Leaves alternate, pinnate, bipinnate or rarely simple. Petioles and petiolules with pulvini and often with glands. Stipules present; stipellae usually absent. Flowers hermaphrodite, zygomorphic or rarely actinomorphic, 5-merous, arranged in various inflorescences or sometimes solitary. Sepals free or connate, imbricate or valvate, or sometimes the calyx entire in the bud. Petals 5, imbricate, sometimes partly or completely reduced. Receptacle often somewhat cup-shaped. Disc sometimes present. Stamens 10, rarely more, but often partly staminodial or wanting; filaments free or more or less united; anthers dorsifixed and then with longitudinal dehiscence or basifixed and then mostly opening with pores or transversal dehiscent. Ovary uni-locular, superior, sessile or stipitate; style with terminal or almost terminal stigma. Ovules one to many, inserted at the ventral suture, anatropous. Fruit a pod. Seeds with or without endosperm. Embryo large, with foliaceous or thickfleshy cotyledons. Over 2200 species in 135 genera, in the warmer parts of the world, especially in the paleotropics.