Trees or shrubs. Younger parts and flowers stellate pubescent. Leaves simple, alternate, petiolate. Flowers small, arranged in heads, bisexual or unisexual, perigynous, rarely hypogynous. Calyx and corolla present or lacking. Stamens 2 8, rarely more. Carpels 2, united; styles 2. Ovules 1 to many. Fruit capsular, dehiscing at the top splitting each style into 2. Pericarp hard. Seeds 1 to many.
A family of about 25 genera and over too species with a wide distribution in the temperate and the sub tropical regions of Asia, Africa, Australia, North America and Europe. Only 1 genus, Parrotiopsis, is reported from West Pakistan.