Trees or shrubs. Leaves simple, alternate, usually large, exstipulate or stipules minute and caducous. Flowers solitary or in racemes or spikes, rather large and showy, regular or irregular, bisexual. Calyx with 4-6 valvate or slightly imbricate lobes. Petals 4-6, free or connate into a campanulate tube. Stamens many, arranged in several whorls, one or more outer whorls modified into staminodes; filaments often united into a short tube; anthers usually versatile, rarely basifixed, staminal disc sometimes lobed. Ovary perigynous to epigynous, 2-loculed; ovules 1-a in each locule with axile placentation. Fruit a berry or a capsule, indehiscent, large, woody, fibrous or fleshy. Seeds exalbuminous.