Trees or shrubs, mostly dioecious, seldom hermaphrodite. Leaves simple, usually alternate, exstipulate. Flowers axillary, 3-7-merous, bracteate, solitary or in few flowered cymes; unisexual or rarely bisexual. Calyx persistent, accrescent in fruit. Corolla lobed, deciduous. Male flowers with epipetalous stamens, 2-4-times the corolla lobes; filaments free or united at the base. Female flowers with staminodes, 8 or none. Ovary 4-12-locular, superior; styles free or basally united. Fruit a berry.