Trees or shrubs, hairy (in Victoria) or glabrous; hairs often medifixed. Leaves opposite (in Victoria) or alternate, simple, entire, distinctly petiolate. Inflorescences terminal involucrate heads (in Victoria) or branched cymes; bracts large and showy (in Victoria), or small or absent. Flowers small, bisexual, white or yellow; sepals 4, minute, calyx-tube campanulate, cylindric or urceolate; petals 4, oblong, valvate; stamens 4, alternating with petals, anthers oblong, purple; ovary usually 2-celled, ovule 1 per cell, style filiform or cylindric, stigma capitate. Fruit a drupe, ovoid, 2-celled, 2-seeded, in compound heads (in Victoria) or simple; endocarp bony; seeds oblong, compressed, albumen fleshy.
Currently believed to be c. 64 species, but estimates vary between authorities (up to 8 segregate genera are sometimes recognized). Mostly from temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere; 1 species naturalised in Australia.