Erect, sometimes climbing, shrubs or (less often) herbs or trees. Stems prickly or unarmed. Leaves opposite or in whorls of 3(-4), aromatic, toothed,
usually glandular-punctate. Flowers sessile in often colourful, usually
axillary, pedunculate heads or spike-like inflorescences; each flower subtended by
an ovate to lanceolate acuminate bract. Calyx small, membranous. Corolla very variable in colour,
red, yellow, purple, blue, mauve or white, sometimes bicoloured with
throat yellow to orange, often changing colour after fertilisation,
salver-shaped with narrowly cylindric tube; limb obscurely 2-lipped,
4-5-lobed. Stamens 4. Ovary 2-locular. Fruit a fleshy drupe.
Derivation of name: Ancient name for the genus Viburnum, which the genus resembles.
Worldwide: 150 species, mostly tropical America but with a few in tropical and southern Africa