Woody trees, shrubs or subshrubs, perennial. Leaves opposite, domatia sometimes present; stipules connate to petioles forming a sheath around nodes. Inflorescence axillary or terminal thyrses, usually reduced to few-flowered dichasia or a single flower. Flowers small, usually unisexual and then plants dioecious; calyx 4- or 5-lobed, short, persistent in fruit; corolla funnel-shaped or campanulate, 4–6-lobed, deciduous, greenish; stamens usually 4 or 5, inserted at base of corolla-tube, anthers exserted, with a terminal appendage; ovary inferior, usually 2-celled, ovules 1 per cell, style deeply 2-lobed, long-exserted, stigmas linear. Fruit a fleshy drupe with 1 or 2 seeds.
About 90 species, in Malaysia, Polynesia, New Zealand and Chile; 15 species in Australia (3 naturalised; 6 endemic).