Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound or simple, often crowded at the top of the branches, without pellucid dots (but sometimes resin ducts in wood and bark). Stipules usually wanting. Inflorescence consisting of axillary clusters, racemes, panicles or cymose spikes. Flowers actinomorphic, unisexual by abortion and then the plant mostly dioecious or flowers hermaphrodite. Sepals 3—8, connate or sometimes free, imbricate or valvate. Petals 3—8 or rarely absent, free or basally connate. Stamens as many or twice as many as the petals, obdiplostemonous, inserted on or at the base of a disk; filaments distinct, often appendaged by scales at the base; anthers 2-celled, with longitudinal dehiscence. Staminodes often present in the female flowers. Gynoecium of 2—5(—8) unilocular and 1-carpellary pistils, distinct or the pistils basally connate into a lobed, 2—8-locular ovary or apically connate by the styles, rarely completely connate; styles 2—8, distinct or connate or sometimes absent. Ovules 1—2 in each carpel, with axile placentation. Fruit various, a capsule, schizocarp or samara, rarely a berry or a drupe. Seeds usually one. Embryo straight or curved. Endosperm scanty or wanting. About 200 species in perhaps more than 30 genera in the tropics.