Perennial, evergreen, semi-parasitic shrubs, rarely herbs. Leaves ex-stipulate, opposite or whorled, rarely alternate, simple, entire, sometimes scale-like or absent. Flowers in racemes or fascicles, rarely solitary, bracteate, actinomorphic. Perianth 4-8, free or connate, either sepaloid or petaloid; calyculus sometimes present below the perianth. Stamens as many as the perianth lobes, mostly epiphyllous, anthers opening by pores or slits. Ovary unilocular, inferior. Fruit a berry or a drupe, succulent, viscid. Seed solitary, without testa.