Shrubs or trees, pubescent or glabrous, occasionally spinescent (not in Victoria). Leaves alternate, entire, petiolate. Inflorescence terminal or axillary, flowers solitary or in few–many-flowered cymes; sepals free or connate; petals fused in part to form a tube, linear or oblanceolate, spreading or recurved towards apex; stamens free, anthers shorter than filaments, opening by 2 longitudinal slits. Fruit an ovoid or obovoid, 2–5-valved capsule; valves woody or coriaceous, remaining fused at base; seeds few-numerous, immersed in viscid fluid, often angular (but not winged).
About 160 species, mainly tropical and subtropical Southern Hemisphere; 24 species in Australia (18 endemic, 5 naturalised).