Subshrubs, creeping or decumbent, or perennial herbs. Leaves alternate, petiolate, thinly leathery or papery, margin dentate in apical half, rarely entire, lateral veins 2 or 3 pairs, lowest triplinerved. Inflorescences terminal or axillary spikes, bracteate, androgynous; male flowers inserted in middle to apical part, female flowers in basal part, rarely both solitary in inflorescence. Flowers small, white or rose. Male flowers: tepals 4, divided into outer and inner series; stamens 4, opposite to tepals; filaments exserted, slightly compressed and broad; sterile pistil 1, 4-ribbed, apex truncate. Female flowers: tepals 4-6; ovary with 2 or 3 locules; styles 2 or 3, long; stigma decurrent to middle or middle-lower part of style; bracts and tepals ciliolate; interstylar nectaries or nectariferous tissue lacking. Fruit a drupe.
"Staminate fls with 4 sep, stamens 4, opposite the sep, long- exsert, with very stout filaments; pistillate fls with 4 or more sep; ovary bi- or tricarpellate, with 4 or 6 uniovulate locelli; fr capsular or baccate, lobed; suffrutescent plants with long rhizomes, the ± evergreen, alternate lvs mostly crowded toward the summit of the erect or ascending stems, the fls in spikes, a few at the base pistillate, the upper all staminate. 4, the others in e. Asia."