Shrubs or trees, sometimes woody climbers, branches angular or terete. Leaves 2 or 3 in a whorl, usually membranous. Stipules leafy, free or connate forming a sheath with the petiole. Flowers in axillary or terminal globose peduncled head, sessile, white; connate by the calyces. Calyx-tube short, fleshy, urceolate-hemispherical; limbs almost absent, slightly toothed, persistent. Corolla ± coriaceous, tube ± long or shod, throat hairy, (4-) 5 (7-)-lobed, lobes coriaceous, valvate in bud. Stamens as many as corolla lobes, inserted on the throat; filaments short; anthem linear or oblong. Ovary 2 or falsely 4-Jocular, ovules solitary, attached to the septum below the middle or near the base; style slender, 2-fid, branches long or short. Fruit a compound succulent berry, formed by the persistent fleshy calyces, enclosing cartilaginous or bony 1-seeded pyrenes. Seeds obovoid or reniform, testa membranous.