Trees, shrubs or woody climbers, rarely herbs, mostly with milky juice. Leaves deciduous or persistent, mostly alternate, stipulate. Inflorescences cymose but modified, head-like with fleshy axis or globular, or discoid, or with flowers inserted on the inner surface of a hollow globular pyriform body (fig). Flowers unisexual, small, with a persistent simple perianth or without perianth. Tepals normally 4, rarely 2-6, coalescent. Stamens generally 4, rarely 1-2, generally equalling tepals in number and opposite them. Carpels 2, united into a 1-celled ovary; styles 1-2, filiform. Fruit an achene or drupe, free or adnate to perianth and often crowded together into an aggregate body with or without receptacle.