Trees and shrubs, generally glabrous. Leaves alternate, simple, exstipulate. Inflorescence terminal or axillary spikes or racemes or panicles, rarely flowers solitary axillary. Flowers mostly bisexual, pedicellate, actinomorphic, pentamerous, epi- or peri-gynous, bracteate. Calyx 5-lobed, campanulate, tube adnate to the ovary, lobes imbricate. Petals (3-) 5 or 10(-11), united at the base, in 1 or 2 whorls, imbricate. Stamens 4-many, in 1-4 series, rarely in bundles, free or basally subconnate, exserted, anthers ovoid-subglobose, longitudinally dehiscent. Carpels 2-5, syncarpous; ovary inferior or semi-inferior, 2-5 locular, ovules anatropous, pendulous, 2-4 in each locule on axile placenta; style simple, stigma 2-5-lobed or subcapitate. Fruit an ellipsoid or subglobose drupe crowned by persistent calyx lobes; endocarp hard, usually ribbed, 1-5-seeded. Seed straight or rarely curved, embryo surrounded by angular or star-shaped fleshy endosperm.