Shrubs or climbers, sometimes with rhizomes. Leaves alternate, linear to ovate or oblong, with prominent parallel veins. Flowers clustered or in paniculate cymes in the leaf axils, regular, bisexual. Perianth segments 6, free, in 2 whorls. Stamens 6; filaments connate into a tube or free. Ovary superior, 3-locular, with axile placentas; style capitate or 3-lobed. Fruit a berry. 7 gen., temp. S. hemisphere.