Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound with or without a terminal leaflet. Stipules wanting. Indument usually simple, rarely of stellate or dibrachiate hairs. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, usually thyrsoid or rarely racemose. Flowers actinomorphic, hermaphrodite or unisexual and then the rudiments of the opposite sex well differentiated in the unisexual flowers. Calyx of 4—5 sepals, usually lobed or less frequently truncate or with the sepals free. Petals (3—) 4—5 (—7), imbricate or valvate, free or partly united. Stamens 5—10; filaments partly or completely united into a staminal tube or rarely free; with or without appendages; anthers 2-celled, inserted on the top of the filament or on the margin of the staminal tube, with longitudinal dehiscence. Disk intrastaminal, annular or columnar. Ovary superior, free or adnate to the disk, 2—10-locular; style 1 or wanting; stigma capitate or discoid, often lobed. Ovules 1 to many in each locule, anatropous, pendulous, biseriate or superposed on an axile placenta. Fruit a berry, capsule or drupe. Seeds solitary or numerous, sometimes winged or with or without an aril or sarcotesta. Embryo plano-convex or flat; endosperm present or wanting. Species about 550 in 50 genera, in tropical and subtropical regions.