Monoecious or dioecious herbs or shrubs; branchlets often ribbed, sometimes viscid. Leaves alternate, sometimes absent or reduced to scales, entire, shortly petiolate, often asymmetric; stipules small. Flowers mostly fascicled, axillary; peduncles absent. Male flowers: sepals 6, in 2 whorls, free or variously connate and then forming a tube or cup; disc absent; stamens 3 opposite outer sepals, filaments connate or sometimes free. Female flowers: sepals 6, in 2 whorls, free or variously connate; disc absent; ovary ovoid, 3 locular, ovules 2 per locule, styles short and broad, entire or often bifid, free or variously connate. Capsule ovoid, inconspicuously lobed (in Victoria), rarely fleshy or berry like; seeds triquetrous and usually elongate.
50 species, worldwide; 25 species (24 endemic) in Australia, in all States except Tasmania.