Shrubs or trees, glandular-dotted and often strongly scenting. Leaves alternate or opposite, simple or compound, often crowded near the top of the branchlets. Stipules wanting. Inflorescence various. Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual, actinomorphous. Perianth typically biseriate, imbricate or valvate. Sepals 3—5, free or connate. Petals 3—5 or wanting, free or rarely connate. Stamens 3 to numerous, usually twice as many as the petals, basically in 2 rows, obdiplostemonous, sometimes staminodial; filaments attached at the base or the rim of the disk; anthers 2-celled, introrse, with longitudinal dehiscence; connective often with glandular apex. Disk present between stamens and gynoecium. Ovary superior, 5—4- or 3—1- or many-locular, carpels often free at the base and connate by the style or stigma only; styles as many as the carpels, rarely terminal, usually attached at the base or ventral side of the carpels, free, connate or wanting; stigmas free or connate. Ovules 1 to several in each locule, collateral or superposed. Fruit various. Seeds sessile or pendulous from the funicle. Embryo large, straight or curved. Endosperm present or wanting. About 1500 species in c. 140 genera in temperate and tropical regions, but mainly in the tropics.