Monoecious or dioecious trees, shrubs or vines climbing by axillary tendrils. Leaves usually alternate, compound to decompound, often even-pinnate or rarely simple. Stipules sometimes present and then persistent or deciduous. Inflorescence consisting of terminal and/or axillary thyrses, or simple or compound racemes or rarely flowers solitary. Flowers small, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, hypogynous, usually unisexual by abortion or rarely bisexual. Sepals 4—5, free or connate, usually unequal, deciduous or persistent. Petals 4—5, free, clawed, often with petaloid appendages on the interior surface above the claw, or rarely wanting. Disk nectariferous, extra-staminal or intrastaminal. Stamens 6—10 (—12), often 7—8; filaments free or connate near the base, inserted within or on the disk; anthers versatile, introrse, with longitudinal dehiscence; in female flowers staminodial or wanting. Pistil 3—(2—6)-carpellary, rudimentary in male flowers; ovary superior, 2—4 (—6)-locular; style short or elongate, sometimes cleft at the apex; stigma 1 or 3. Ovules 1—2 in each locule, on an axile placenta. Fruit a drupe, berry, capsule or schizocarp splitting into drupe-like, nut-like or samaroid mericarps, often 1-locular. seeds usually solitary in a locule, often with an aril. Endosperm scanty or wanting. Embryo usually curved. Pantropic family of about 150 genera and 1800 species, especially in the Neotropics; a few species extending into warm-temperate regions.