Trailing shrubs or lianas without special organs for climbing, branches rarely flexuose; stem with wide vessels, raphides in the flowering parts; bark often with short linear lengthwise lenticels. Growth in flushes from terminal and axillary buds. Indumentum of stellate or simple hairs. Stipules minute, obsolete, or absent. Leaves simple, scattered, petiolate, serrate or callous-dentate, penninervous, midrib sulcate, veins in cross-bars, veinlets reticulate. Inflor. lateral, often on a common peduncle forked at the apex, cymose, often pseudo-umbellate; bracts 2, at the apex of the peduncle. Flowers mostly white, dioecious (or polygamous), 5(-4)- merous. Sepals distinctly imbricate (rarely valvate), free or subconnate at the base, persistent. Stamens (10-) ~, in ♀ fls with short filaments and small sterile anthers; filaments thin, anthers versatile, base divaricate, attached in the middle, reflexed in bud, dehiscing lengthwise. Disc absent. Ovary free, superior, tomentose (or glabrous), (5-) ~-celled; ovules attached on the central axis. Styles free, (5-) ~, persistent, elongating after flowering in ♀, ±clavate, spreading, in ♂ ovary small, with minute styles. Berry glabrous (or hairy), often spotted by lenticels, oblong. Seeds ~, small, biconvex, oblong, immersed in pulp; testa cartilagineous, reticulate-pitted, dark when dry; albumen copious; integuments 1; embryo cylindrical straight, cotyledons short. Distr. Ca 30 spp. from W. Malaysia & Himalaya to Sachalin, Japan and Formosa, centering in China and Japan.