Herbs erect or scandent, or clambering shrubs. Leaves alternate, petiolate. Inflorescences racemes or spikes, axillary or terminal. Flowers bisexual or unisexual; each flower with 1 bract and 2 bracteoles. Tepals 5, rarely 4, scarious, glabrous. Stamens 5, rarely 4; filaments basally connate into a cup; anthers 2-loculed. Ovary ovoid or subglobose, 1-loculed; ovules few to many; stigmas 2 or 3, rarely 4, linear or terete, united at base; pseudostaminodes absent. Berry globose, broadly ellipsoid, or obovoid, thinly walled, indehiscent. Seeds few to many, shiny black or brownish black, circular or reniform, very finely verruculose or smooth.