Scrambling shrubs or climbers, deciduous or rarely evergreen, often pubescent. Leaves opposite, simple, entire or lobed (usually in juvenile stage); stipules sometimes present. Flowers paired on ends of short shoots in upper leaf-axils or in terminal clusters (not in Victoria), subtended by several pairs of bracts; sepals 5, scarcely connate basally, persistent; corolla c. actinomorphic or zygomorphic, more or less equally 5-lobed or 2-lipped with upper lip 4-lobed; stamens 5, epipetalous, exserted; ovary 2- or 3-celled, rarely 5-celled, style slender; stigma capitate. Fruit a few–many-seeded berry.
About 180 species, widespread mostly in the Northern Hemisphere; 2 species naturalised in Australia.