Trees or shrubs, sometimes scandent, occasionally spiny. Leaves alternate rarely opposite or whorled, simple, entire, exstipulate. Inflorescence racemose or panicled. Flowers mostly bisexual rarely polygamous, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, bracteate; Calyx 4–5, rarely 8-fid or lobed, with valvate aestivation, hypanthium adnate to ovary. Petals 4–5 (–oc) or absent, fused, imbricate or valvate, inserted on the calyx. Stamens 4-5, 8 or 10, rarely more, incurved in the bud, inserted on the calyx, in two series, upper series opposite the petals, sometimes reduced or absent; the lower opposite the sepals. Anthers versatile, bithecous, opening longitudinally, connectives often apiculate. Disc epigynous. Carpel 1, ovary unilocular, inferior, angled, angles equal to and alternating with the calyx lobes; ovules 2–6, anatropous, pendulous from the apex of the ovary on large often united funicles; style simple, filiform with pointed or capitate or undefined stigma. Fruit usually leathery, drupe like, 2–5 angled or winged, 1-seeded, without endosperm; cotyledons contorted or spirally rolled, oily.