Monoecious shrubs, subshrubs or woody herbs, mostly twining. Indumentum simple and sometimes urticating. Leaves alternate, petiolate, stipulate, stipellate, simple, 3-5-lobate or - foliolate, entire of toothed. Inflorescences bisexual, axillary or terminal, usually solitary and long-pedunculate, crowded and subtended by 2 large stipulate outer bracts; outer bracts equal or subequal, entire, toothed or trilobate, green or coloured; male partial inflorescence a pedunculate pleiochasium of 5(-7) sessile (1-) 3-flowered cymes together with a mass of fused aborted flowers, all surrounded by 4 free or fused inner bracts; female partial inflorescence a subsessile 2-3-bracteate (1-) 3-flowered dichasium abaxial to the male structure. Male flowers: pedicels articulate; buds globose, later splitting into 4-6 valvate lobes; petals 0; disc 0; stamens 7-90, commonly 15-30, filaments usually fused into a column, free portions short, anthers longitudinally dehiscent. pistillode 0. Female flowers: sepals 5-12, imbricate, narrow, rarely entire, usually pinnatifid, sometimes glandular, in fruit accrescent, indurated and enclosing the fruit; petals 0; disc usually 0; ovary 3(-4)-celled, with 1 ovule per cell; styles completely fused, elongate, obtuse, dilated or obliquely excavated at the apex. Fruit trilobate, dehiscing into 3 bivalved cocci. Seeds globose, ecarunculate; albumen fleshy; cotyledons broad, flat.