Trees or shrubs, evergreen, dioecious or rarely monoecious. Branchlets never spinose, never corky or winged. Stipules firm, caducous, usually basally connate, enclosing bud, leaving a single transverse scar that completely encircles stem at each node. Leaves alternate, in several ranks; leaf blade margin entire or shallowly serrate; venation pinnate; secondary veins anastomosing before reaching margin. Inflorescences cymes or 1-flowered. Flowers unisexual. Male flowers: tepals 5, imbricate. Stamens 5; filaments short and erect. Ovary rudimentary, hair-shaped. Female flowers: tepals 5. Ovary sessile. Stigmas papillate. Drupes compressed or not; endocarp bony. Seed with endosperm or not; embryo twisted; cotyledons narrow.