Woody or herbaceous climbers with leaf-opposed tendrils; branches often articulate. Leaves alternate, simple or compound, usually articulate with the stem; stipules membranous. Flowers regular, bisexual, in leaf-opposed or sometimes apparently axillary cymo-panicles. Calyx small, entire or obscurely 4–5-lobed, persistent. Petals 4–5, valvate. Stamens 4–5, opposite the petals, inserted on the outside of a thick disc. Ovary 2–6-locular; placentas axile; style simple; stigma sometimes lobed. Fruit a berry. 12 gen., trop. to temp.