Small trees or mostly shrubs. Leaves spirally arranged, sometimes imbricate or crowded at the end of the shoots in ± distinctly spaced pseudowhorls, xeromorphic, generally stiff and coriaceous, entire (Mal. spp.), subsessile or petioled; venation palmate, i.e. several longitudinal, simple or forked nerves or streaks, prominent at least underneath. Stipules 0. Spikes or spike-like racemes terminal and/or axillary, bracteate, solitary, rarely reduced to a single flower; rachis, if any, usually ending in a rudimentary flower or its subtending bract. Flowers bisexual, rarely polygamous (and plants gynodioecious) or unisexual (and plants dioecious). Bracteoles 2 or several, imbricate, inserted immediately below the calyx (Mal. spp.). Sepals 4-5, free, imbricate, persistent, usually finely marked with parallel or diverging veins as are the leaves, bracts and bracteoles. Corolla campanulate or tubular below, the limb rather deeply divided, lobes often spreading, valvate or imbricate. Stamens isomerous, inserted high in the corolla tube (Mal. spp.) and alternating with the corolla lobes, included or exserted to various degree; anthers 1-celled, free (Mal. spp.), both locules dehiscing by a common longitudinal slit. Disk entire, 5-lobed or consisting of 5 distinct scales, rarely absent. Ovary 1, superior, 1-10-celled; placentas axillary; ovules solitary (Mal. spp.). Fruit a berry-like drupe (Mal. spp.) containing a central stone with as many cells as the ovary, or the cells becoming hard pyrenes and remaining ± separate from each other within the pulpy mesocarp. Seeds with a thin testa; embryo straight; endosperm fleshy. Distribution. About 21 genera with c. 400 spp., the bulk of which occur in Australia (inch Tasmania), 1 Mal. sp. extending to S. Indo-China, Tenasserim and S. Siam, c. 30 spp. in New Zealand (partly also occurring in Australia), c. 20 spp. in New Caledonia and the New Hebrides, 1 sp. in Micronesia (Marianas), 4 spp. in Polynesia (inch Hawaii, Marquesas and Rapa, but not yet known from Samoa), 1 sp. in SW. temperate South America, and in Malesia 18 spp., four of which known from outside Malesia. Fig. 1.