Perennial herbs or shrubs. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite or basal, simple, exstipulate. Flowers solitary, axillary or in cymes, racemes or spikes; bisexual, zygomorphic. Calyx usually 5-lobed. Corolla 5-lobed, valvate in bud. Stamens 5, epipetalous, free, alternating with corolla lobes; anthers free or connate in a ring round the style. Ovary bicarpellary, syncarpous, inferior or superior, l-2 loculed with axile or basal placentation; ovules l, 2 or many in each locule; style simple or 2-3 fid with a pollen cup under the stigma. Fruit a capsule, drupe or nut.