Monoecious, or rarely dioecious, shrubs or trees with an indumentum of stellate hairs and/or peltate scales. Leaves alternate, sometimes subopposite or subwhorled, simple, petiolate, with 2 sessile or stalked discoid
glands on the petiole or at the base of the lamina. Inflorescences
terminal, sometimes axillary, either bisexual (the female flowers
usually below the males) or unisexual. Male flowers: sepals (4-)5(-6), petals usually present, (4-)5(-6), rarely more; stamens central, 5-many. Female flowers: sepals narrower than the male flowers, petals often smaller, vestigial or 0. Ovary (2-)3(-4)-locular; styles 1-several times 2-fid. Fruit dehiscent with 3 valves or cocci or ± indehiscent.
Worldwide: c.750 species in tropical and warm areas.
Zimbabwe: 2 cultivated taxa.