Monoecious, prostrate, decumbent or erect, unarmed or spinous perennial herbs or erect shrubs, with or without a simple or glandular indumentum. Leaves alternate, petiolate, stipulate, simple, entire, penninerved. Flowers axillary, pedicellate, the males usually fasciculate, the females solitary. Male flowers: sepals 5(-6), free or ± so, imbricate; petals 5(-6), usually shorter than the sepals; disc-glands 5(-6), free, opposite the petals; stamens 5(-6), opposite the sepals, filaments free or partially connate, anthers erect, introrse, the loculi parallel, distinct, longitudinally dehiscent; pistillode usually small and trilobate or tripartite. Female flowers: sepals usually larger than those of the male flowers; petals small, minute or absent; disc-glands as in the ♂ flowers, or united; ovary 3-celled, with 2 ovules per cell; styles 3, short, bifid or bipartite, stigmas capitate. Fruit globose or subglobose, dehiscing into 3 bivalved cocci; endocarp thinly woody. Seeds 2 per cell, segmentiform, triquetrous, pustulate, smooth or foveolate, ecarunculate; albumen fleshy; embryo curved, radicle long, cotyledons broad, flat.