Trees or shrubs, mostly armed with a pair of stipular spines, one usually long and straight and the other short recurved. Leaves mostly distichous to subdistichous, alternate 3(-5)-nerved, usually leathery and oblique at the base, entire serrate or serrulate. Flowers in axillary cymes, 5-merous, regular, greenish yellow, mostly bisexual. Calyx 5-fid, saucer-shaped, lobes keeled. Petals 5, rarely absent, cucullate, disc pitted or flat 5-10 lobed, mostly lining the calyx tube. Stamens enclosed within the petals. Ovary immersed in disc, 2-4 celled, style 2(-3)-partite, stigma papillose, small. Fruit drupaceous, fleshy, succulent, globose-oblong, pyrenes 1-4, rugose or tuberculate,
1-seed in each stone. Seed plano-convex, mostly with very scanty endosperm.