Trees or shrubs, pubescent or glabrous. Leaves alternate, simple or 1-foliolate (i.e. reduced from multi-foliolate leaf and evident by swelling at junction of petiole with lamina), margins toothed (in Victoria) or entire, distinctly petiolate, often turning red before falling; venation usually prominently reticulate; domatia present or absent. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, borne amongst upper leaves (in Victoria) or ramiflorous. Flowers usually bisexual, sometimes polygamous; sepals 4 or 5; petals 4 or 5, usually divided into linear lobes, sometimes entire or shallowly lobed; stamens numerous, inserted on torus within glandular ring, anthers mostly longer than filaments, often awned, dehiscing by terminal slits; ovary 2–5-celled, ovules 2 or more per cell; style subulate. Fruit a drupe, ovoid or globose, blue to blackish; endocarp often bony, deeply sculptured.
About 350 species, in Madagascar, India, southern China, Japan, south-east Asia, New Zealand, and the south-western Pacific region; c. 29 formally named species in eastern and northern Australia.