Antirhea includes dioecious, small to medium-sized trees with the leaves usually 3 per node, with the inflorescences axillary with markedly scorpioid axes, with small sessile flowers, and with succulent drupaceous fruits that are relatively small and contain a single pyene or stone with 2-4 locules.
Antirhea was studied in detail by Chaw & Darwin (1992), who circumscribed the genus to include Paleotropical plants found from Madagascar through the western Pacific Islands. They excluded from Antirhea the Neotropical plants that were previously classified there, most of which now belong to Stenostomum. Chaw & Darwin separated 3 subgenera, two distributed entirely outside Madagascar while Subg. Antirhea is restricted to Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands. In this subgenus they recognized one species restricted to the Mascarenes, Antirhea bifurcata; one found in both the Mascarenes and Madagascar, Antirhea borbonica, and one restricted to Madagascar.