Usually evergreen shrubs or small to medium sized trees. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite, simple; stipules if present, small. Flowers regular, hypogynous, hermaphrodite or unisexual, in axillary cymose clusters or fascicles. Calyx persistent, of 4-5 united and imbricate sepals. Petals free or connate basally. Stamens as many as and alternating with the petals, free or basally adnate to the petals; anthers dehiscing longitudinally. Carpels united. Ovary 3 or more locular, with I pendulous ovule in each loculus. Fruit a drupe with a few pyrenes. Seeds endospermic, testa membranous.