Small shrubs or small to large trees. Leaves simple, alternate, opposite or whorled; stipules small and caducous or absent. Flowers bisexual, regular. Sepals 4 or 5-merous, valvate. Petals as many as sepals, usually imbricate. Stamens twice as many as petals and hypogynous; or numerous, mostly free, inserted around or within a perigynous disc. Ovary superior, 2–5-locular, with 1 or several ovules per loculus; style simple. Fruit a capsule or drupaceous. 8 gen., trop. to warm temp., except Africa.