Evergreen trees, shrubs or rarely perennial herbs, without milky sap, monoecious or dioecious. Leaves simple, opposite or alternate, 5(-3)-nerved, entire, rarely dentate, coriaceous. Inflorescence of axillary cymose fascicles, racemes or spikes. Flowers minute, unisexual rarely bisexual, actinomorphic, hypogynous, bracteate; female flowers often pedicellate and larger than the male. Sepals 4(-6), biseriate, basally connate, imbricate. Petals absent. Stamens as many as sepals, antisepalous, anthers large, dithecous, dehiscence longitudinal or valvular. Carpels 3, rarely 2 or 4, syncarpous; ovary superior, rudimentary or absent in male flowers, 3-locular, rarely 2 or 4-loculed; placentation axile; ovules 1 or 2 in each locule, pendulous, anatropous with dorsal raphe; styles as many as carpels, basally connate or free and diverging, persistent, stigmas decurrent. Fruit a loculicidally dehiscent capsule or indehiscent fleshy drupe. Seeds with or without caruncle, endosperm fleshy, embryo straight.