Perennial, green hemiparasites. Branches opposite or dichasial. Leaves opposite, fleshy, sometimes reduced. Inflorescences cymose, usually axillary. Flowers (in ours) unisexual (plants dioecious), crowded, usually (1-) 2-5 in axillary fascicles. Bracts and bracteoles minute. Staminate flowers: sepals 4; petals 0; stamens 4, anthers sessile, many-celled, many-pored, concrescent with perianth lobes. Pistillate flowers: sepals reduced to 4 scale-like teeth; petals minute; ovary inferior, stigma thick, sessile or nearly so. Fruit baccate, with fleshy, viscid mesocarp. Embryos 1-2, straight, with copious endosperm.