Mostly armed shrubs with axillary thorns and simple, oppositedecussate or verticillate leaves. Racemes terminal or axillary. Flowers small, mostly blue, purple or white, bracteate. Calyx-tube subcampanulate, 5-ribbed and 5-toothed. Corolla-tube cylindrical, straight or apically curved, pubescent at the mouth, 5-lobed, with usually unequal lobes. Stamens 4, not exserted, anthers sagittate. Ovary 4-carpelled, 8-loculed, with 1 ovule in each locule; style terminal with unequally 4-lobed stigma. Fruit a flehy drupe, usually 8-seeded, completely enclosed by the persistent calyx.