Shrubs or small trees, often glabrous; branches terete or 4-sided, many-branched. Leaves petiolate or sessile; leaf blade usually leathery, pinnately veined, margin entire. Inflorescences axillary or inserted on leafless stems, cymose or umbellate. Flowers 4-merous. Hypanthium cup-shaped, campanulate, subfunnel-shaped, or semiorbicular, apex repand or shallowly 4-lobed. Petals orbicular, oblong, or ovate, often oblique. Stamens 8, equal, isomorphic; filaments as long as anthers; anthers elliptic, small, longitudinally dehiscent; connective conic, inflated, lengthened, 2-3 × as large as anthers, sometimes abaxially with a circular concave gland. Ovary inferior, subglobose, 1-celled, apex truncate, 8-sulcate, radiated; ovule 6-12, with free central placentation. Fruit a baccate drupe, often globular, apex with hypanthium forming a ring; exocarp usually succulent, 1-seeded. Seed globular, glabrous; seed coat bony; cotyledon crumpled; embryo curved.
Seeds 1 or 2; embryo convolute, exalbuminous; cotyledons thick or foliaceous.
Shrubs or trees, usually glabrous, rarely shortly pilose
Inflorescence of pseudo-umbellate contracted cymes arranged in a corymbose panicle with series of opposite or fascicled branches, generally reduced to simpler pseudo-umbels, cymes, fascicles or even single flowers; peduncles absent or well developed, either solitary or several from each leaf-axil
Leaves opposite, entire, coriaceous to submembranaceous, petiolate or subsessile; midrib always prominent, 2 basal longitudinal nerves either present or absent, when present either as prominent as the midrib or thin and sinuate, transverse veinlets strong to obscure
Flowers 4-merous, hermaphrodite (possible exception of M. dioicum (Naud.) Cogn.), usually pedicellate; bracts and bracteoles often present
Stamens 8, equal; anthers medifixed, axe-shaped; thecae minute, opening by a slit; connective ending in a thick dorsal appendage as long as the thecae or twice as long and provided with a dorsal sessile hollow gland
Berry spherical, often with a corona formed by the persistent calyx-lobes
Ovary wholly adherent to the calyx-tube, 1-locular, apex swollen or depressed and provided with an epigynous disc with 8 radiating ribs that conceal the anthers in bud; ovules 5–20, on a central placenta; style filiform; stigma simple
Fruit an ovoid, globose or ellipsoid l(2)-seeded berry, crowned by the persistent calyx.
Ovary 1-locular, wholly adherent to the receptacle, sunken or convex at the apex; style filiform; ovules 2–12(20), on a central placenta.
Stamens 8, equal, sometimes 4 with abortive anthers; filaments filiform; anthers axe-shaped, with 2 anterior thecae dehiscing by 2 longitudinal slits and usually with a gland on the concave back.
Leaves opposite, entire, longitudinally 1–3(5)-nerved, shortly petiolate.
Trees or shrubs usually everywhere glabrous, with the young branches narrowly 4-winged, 4-gonous or terete.
Petals broadly ovate, obovate, circular-subdeltate, obtuse or apiculate, whitish or bluish.
Seeds large; cotyledons crumpled or not so.
Receptacle broadly campanulate, hemispherical or cupular, with the limb ± dilated, truncate, 4-toothed or -lobed.