Glabrous trees or shrubs; flowering shoots usually conspicuously lenticellate, provided with approximate distichous, bicarinate and 2—3-aristate cataphylls at the base. Leaves alternate or opposite, petiolate. Stipules intrapetiolar, 2 or 1 to each leaf. Inflorescence consisting of axillary fascicles or the flowers solitary in the axils of the leaves or cataphylls. Flowers hermaphrodite, dimorphous, actinomorphous, 5-merous. Sepals more or less connate, persistent. Petals free, deciduous. Stamens 10, the outer row epipetalous; filaments filiform; stamens dithecious with longitudinal dehiscence. Stamens of the brachystylous flowers all of the same length, longer than the styles; those of the dolichostylous flowers alternately shorter and longer, but always shorter than the styles. Pistil 3-carpellary; ovary 3-locular but in our species only one locule fertile; style 3, free or connate; stigma subcapitate. Fruit drupaceous, indehiscent. Seeds usually with endosperm. Probably only one genus with more than 200 species in tropical America.