Dioecious scrambling shrubs or small trees with axillary spines. Leaves alternate, entire, petiolate; glands absent. Inflorescence usually capitate, axillary. Male flowers with 4(–5) free tepals; stamens 4(–5). Female flowers with 4 free or basally fused tepals; ovary free or embedded in sockets in the fleshy receptacle; style simple or bifid. Fruit a drupe, many together, forming a syncarp, enveloped by fleshy perianth and exocarp.
12 species, mainly from tropical regions in America, Africa, Asia and Australia, 1 native and 1 naturalised in Australia.