Trees, shrubs or tall herbs, annual or perennial, monoecious. Leaves alternate, deeply palmately lobed, petiolate; stipules absent. Inflorescences terminal or axillary panicles; male flowers lowermost; female flowers uppermost. Calyx 3–5-lobed, valvate, membranous; petals absent. Male flowers with c. 1000 stamens, filaments filiform, repeatedly branched, anthers 2-celled, dehiscing longitudinally. Female flowers with caducous calyx lobes; ovary 3-celled, ovules 1 per cell, styles 3, usually bifid. Fruit a spiny capsule dehiscing into three 2-valved mericarps; seeds 3 per capsule, caruncle present.
Monotypic genus from tropical Africa; widely naturalized.