Trees, shrubs or twiners, sometimes spinescent. Leaves alternate, sometimes appearing whorled, simple and entire. Flowers solitary or in cymes or cymose panicles, bisexual (rarely unisexual); bracteoles paired; sepals 5, free or shortly fused; petals 5 imbricate, free or shortly fused near base; stamens 5, alternating with petals; anthers longitudinally dehiscent or dehiscent by terminal pores; style simple; ovary superior, 1–several-locular, with 2–5 carpels. Fruit a loculicidal capsule or a berry; seeds often immersed in a viscid pulp.
About 200 species in 9 genera, principally Australasian, but represented in most tropical and subtropical regions; about 90 species in 9 genera in Australia.