Herbs or shrubs, rarely scramblers, annual or perennial. Leaves mostly alternate, simple, entire to lobed; stipules absent. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, dichasia, thyrses, racemes, umbels, spikes, heads or of solitary flowers. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, rarely actinomorphic; bracteoles often present. Sepals 3 or 5, free or fused; corolla tubular, slit on lower side, 5-lobed, 2-lipped or fan-like, rarely connate with 5 radiating lobes; stamens 5, epigynous or rarely almost hypogynous, alternating with corolla-lobes, anthers 2-celled, basifixed, free or fused around style, dehiscing by longitudinal slits; ovary inferior to superior, usually incompletely 2-celled, ovules 1–several per cell, style terminated by a pollen cup or indusium which collects and exposes pollen, stigma small, usually 2-lobed, contained within indusium. Fruit a drupe, nut or capsule; seeds 1–several, often flattened and winged, caruncle present or absent, endosperm present, rarely absent.
12 genera with c. 430 species, mostly in Australia and New Guinea but also South-east Asia, the Pacific, New Zealand and Chile; 12 genera and c. 408 species in Australia.