Dioecious or monoecious trees or shrubs with characteristic tough bark on the twigs, often with latex. Leaves alternate or opposite, simple, entire or dentate, often coriaceous; stipules present, often caducous leaving a scar. Flowers very small, unisexual, regular, in heads or spikes or enclosed within the enlarged invaginated floral axis. Perianth segments usually 4, free or connate basally. Stamens as many as the perianth segments and opposite them or 1–2. Ovary 1-locular, superior; ovule 1, pendulous; style usually 2-fid. Fruit a nut or drupaceous (in Ficus within the enlarged fleshy floral axis). 53 gen., trop. to warm temp.