Dioecious shrubs or trees, often with stilt roots. Leaves in tristichous spirals, narrow, acuminate with sessile, sheathing base, midrib and margins spinous. Spadices axillary or terminal, simple or branched, enveloped by leafy spathes. Flowers fasciculate or paniculate. Perianth redimentary or absent. Male flowers: stamens numerous, filaments free or connate; anthers erect, basiflxed, 2-celled. Female flower: staminodes absent or present, if present small and hypogynous. Carpels connate in groups (phalanges) or all free, superior. Style 0 or very short. Ovules solitary-many, basal or parietal. Fruit an oblong-globose, fleshy or baccate, pulpy inside, syncarpous drupe. Seeds minute, striated, with fleshy endosperm and minute embryo.