Green, shrubby plants with adventitious haustorial roots, hemiparasitic on trees and shrubs. Leaves mostly opposite, often thick, entire, sometimes scale-like or absent; stipules 0. Bracts anti-bracteoles, small, scale-like, sometimes rudimentary. Flowers usually hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, single or in cymes, spikes or fascicles. Perianth simple or double, petaloid or sepaloid. Calyx or simple perianth 3-4-lobed. Petals (where present) 3-8, free or united, volute, often red (bird-pollinated) or yellow. Stamens as many as perianth lobes, opposite and adnate to them, with 1 to many pollen sacs. Ovary inferior, adnate to tube of perianth, 1-celled, with 1 ovule and with integinent not differentiated from placenta; stigma simple, sessile or borne on a filiform style. Fruit usually drupe- or berry-like. Seed solitary, without testa (integuments) and with copious endosperm, adherent to the pericarp; embryo 1 or many. Chromosomes relatively very large, forming translocation rings.