Trees or shrubs, evergreen or deciduous. Leaves alternate, simple, entire or 2-10-lobed, penninerved, coriaceous; stipules connate, covering the young buds, deciduous, leaving a scar around the node, occasionally absent. Flowers terminal or axillary, mostly solitary, usually large, showy and monochlamydeous, regular, acyclic or hemicyclic, bisexual, rarely unisexual, hypogynous; bract usually one, spathaceous, often silky hairy, deciduous, leaving an annular scar on the peduncle. Perianth 2- or more-cyclic with 3-6 in each whorl, free, imbricate, usually sub-equal, fleshy, the outer sometimes reduced. Stamens numerous, free, acyclic. Gynoecium sessile or stipitate; carpels many to few, rarely one, acyclic, borne on an elongated thalamus, free or partly cohering; ovary unilocular; ovules 2 or more, anatropous, parietal. Fruit a group of follicles, winged nuts or berries. Seeds 1 or more, suspended by an elastic silky thread, albuminous.