Shrubs or trees, rarely perennial herbs, sometimes spreading by suckers. Leaves opposite, imparipinnate, sometimes with stipule-like basal leaflets; leaflets serrate; stipels present or absent. Inflorescences terminal compound cymes or panicles, many-flowered; bracts, if present, scale-like. Flowers small, pedicellate; sepals 3–5, small, persistent; corolla rotate, actinomorphic, 2–5-lobed, lobes shortly connate; stamens 2–5, filaments inserted in throat of corolla-tube; ovary 2–5-celled, ovule 1 per cell, style short, 2–5-lobed. Fruit a small drupe with 2–5 cartilaginous nutlets.
About 40 species, almost cosmopolitan but mostly from temperate and subtropical regions; 3 species in Australia, 2 endemic, 1 naturalized.