Trees shrubs or rarely climbers. Leaves opposite or alternate, frequently compound, without stipules. Flowers variously arranged, usually polygamous or unisexual, regular or irregular. Sepals 3–6, free or connate. Petals as many as the sepals or fewer or absent, imbricate in the bud. Disc usually present. Stamens usually 8, inserted between the ovary and the disc. Ovary mostly 1-4-locular, superior, often lobed; style simple; placentas axile. Ovules 1–2 per loculus. Fruit usually a capsule, 3-lobed or sometimes with 1 or 2 lobes aborted; or a 2-winged schizocarp (“samara”). Seeds frequently with a fleshy aril. 135 gen., mostly trop.