Herbs, shrubs or trees, usually with stellate indumentum, sometimes mixed with simple hairs. Leaves alternate, simple, usually lobed and toothed or sometimes entire. Stipules deciduous. Inflorescence various, axillary or terminal or sometimes cauline, rarely the flowers solitary. Flowers hermaphrodite, usually actinomorphous, sometimes heterostylous. Calyx persistent, 5-lobed, the lobes valvate. Petals 5, free or adnate to the base of the androecium, contorted in bud, often persistent after withering. Stamens 5 or more; filaments mostly more or less united at the base or beyond the middle into a cup or tube; anthers mostly 2-celled, extrorse, with longitudinal dehiscence. Staminodia present in some genera. Ovary superior, 5—1-locular, carpels more or less united; styles as many as the carpels, free or more usually connate or the styles simple. Ovules 1—several in each locule, anatropous, on axile placentas. Fruit a leathery or fleshy capsule or the carpels separating as dehiscent cocci or woody follicles. Seeds with or without endosperm. Embryo straight or curved. About 1000 species in 70 genera, mostly tropical.