Shrubs or small trees, glabrous or pubescent with simple, forked or branched hairs. Leaves mostly alternate, sometimes paired, simple, entire, petiolate. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, usually raceme- or panicle-like clusters. Flowers bisexual, regular or slightly zygomorphic, often subtended by a small bract; calyx tubular, 5–7-lobed; corolla tubular or trumpet-shaped (not in Victoria), 5–7-lobed, tube often inflated towards limb, lobes valvate in bud; stamens 5, equal or subequal, inserted on corolla-tube, anthers 2-celled, versatile, included, dehiscing by longitudinal slits; ovary 2-celled, stigma capitate. Fruit a succulent berry; seeds ovoid or angular, usually several.
About 250 species, in tropical Central and South America; 4 species naturalised in Australia.