Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, opposite, simple; petioles often thickened at both ends. Stipules present, deciduous. Inflorescence consisting of racemes or panicles or flowers solitary. Flowers actinomorphic, 4—5-merous, mostly hermaphrodite. Sepals 4—5. Petals 4—5 or wanting. Stamens numerous, free, attached to the well-developed disk; anthers mostly opening by pores. Ovary superior, 2—many-locular; style one; stigmas 5. Ovules 2—many, with axile placentation. Fruit mostly a capsule, rarely a drupe. Seed with endosperm and rarely with an aril. About 10 genera with c. 400 species, nearly all in the tropics.