Subshrubs; (halophytic); spines absent; largely glabrous. Stems: branches arching or prostrate; branchlets drooping or erect. Leaves (cauline), opposite, simple (each with a basal-abaxial appendage); stipules caducous, (paired, minute); petioles absent; blade (succulent), margins entire. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, conelike spikes (catkins) [lax and spikelike or solitary flowers]. Flowers unisexual, staminate and pistillate on different plants [same plant in different inflorescences], actinomorphic; bracts present. Staminate flowers each initially enclosed in sac splitting into 2 lobes (spathella); tepals 4 or 5, distinct, white, equal, base long-clawed [tapered]; androecium hypogynous; nectary glands absent; stamens 4 or 5, alternating with and longer than tepals; filaments distinct; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Pistillate flowers bracteate; tepals absent; pistil 1, 2-carpellate; ovary falsely 4-loculed; placentation basal-parietal; ovules anatropous, bitegmic; style absent; stigmas 2-lobed. Fruits drupaceous syncarps [drupes], ellipsoid. Seeds 1-4, narrow, flattened.
SELECTED REFERENCES Bayer, C. and O. Appel. 2003. Bataceae. In: K. Kubitzki et al., eds. 1990+. The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. 9+ vols. Berlin, etc. Vol. 5, pp. 30-32. Rogers, G. K. 1982c. The Bataceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 63: 375-386.