Deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs with pubescent or glabrous branchlets. Leaves entire, sometimes auriculate, usually minutely punctate. Flowers large, terminal, appearing before or after leaves. Perianth 9-21, in 3-5 whorls. Stamens numerous, in many series; filaments short; anthers adnate. Gynoecium sessile; carpels many; ovary sessile, unilocular; style and stigma short, fused together, recurved; ovules 1 or usually 2, horizontal. Fruit a collection of woody follicles, dehiscence dorsal or ventral. Seeds l-2, red or brown, suspended by a long silky thread; albumen oily.