Herbs, shrubs or trees with an indumentum nearly always of stellate hairs and often also simple hairs. Leaves alternate, mostly petiolate; blade simple or palmately-lobed or -fid, palmately veined. Stipules present. Inflorescence consisting of axillary or terminal clusters. Bracteoles, when present, free or united into an epicalyx. Flowers hermaphrodite, actinomorphous, usually 5-merous. Calyx valvate, lobed, dentate or truncate. Petals 5, free or somewhat connate, contorted or rarely imbricate, adnate to the base of the staminal tube. Stamens numerous, monadelphous; filaments ultimately free; anthers 1-celled, with longitudinal dehiscence. Ovary superior, 5—∞-locular; style usually branched, the branches as many or twice as many as the carpels, more or less connate; stigmas terminal, capitate or filiform. Ovules 1—many on an axile placentation. Fruit a loculicidal capsule or schizocarp, separating into dehiscent or indehiscent mericarps, these arranged around a central columella. Seeds 1—numerous, mostly reniform or subglobose. About 85 genera and 1500 species throughout the world but mainly in tropical and subtropical regions.