Herbs, shrubs or trees with a characteristic tough bark on the twigs. Leaves opposite or alternate, simple, 3–5-veined from the base, or palmately compound; entire or serrate, often oblique; stipules small, caducous or persistent. Flowers uni- or bisexual, in axillary or lateral cymes. Perianth segments usually 5, basally connate. Stamens usually 5, opposite the perianth segments, hypogynous. Ovary superior, 1-locular; ovule solitary, pendulous; styles 2. Fruit drupaceous. 9 gen., worldwide.