Herbs, shrubs or trees, sometimes climbers, glabrous or younger parts pubescent. Leaves petiolate or subsessile, acuminate or acute, exstipulate. Inflorescence a raceme, panicle or spike. Pedicels bracteate at base, often with 1-3 bracteoles. Flowers small, mostly hermaphrodite. Perianth sepaloid or coloured, persistent and mostly reflexed in fruit; tepals 4-5, almost equal, glabrous or nearly so. Stamens 5-30; filaments mostly free; anthers 2-celled, dorsifixed. Carpels 5-16, free or united at base or completely connate; ovule 1 in each carpal, basal, campylotropous; styles as many as carpels, erect or recurved, stigmatous on inner surface. Fruit a depressed-globular, juicy or fleshy berry of free or connate carpels. Seeds compressed, almost reniform, with crustaceous coat; endosperm mealy; embryo annular; cotyledons semiterete.