Shrubs, trees, or sometimes herbs, sometimes scrambling or scandent, sometimes armed, with aromatic volatile oils contained in glands visible at surface of at least leaves, young branchlets, inflorescences, flower parts, fruit, or cotyledons in seed. Stipules absent [or stipular excrescences rarely present]. Leaves alternate, opposite [or whorled], simple (petiole neither apically swollen nor articulate with leaf blade), 1-foliolate (in individual specimens at least some 1-foliolate leaves with petiole apically swollen and/or articulate with leaf blade), or variously compound. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, usually 3-5-merous, actinomorphic or rarely zygomorphic, hypogynous [or rarely perigynous]. Perianth in 2 series, with clearly differentiated calyx and corolla or sometimes in 2 irregular series or 1 series, with ± undifferentiated tepals. Sepals distinct or connate to their full length. Petals distinct [or rarely coherent or connate for part of their length]. Stamens usually as many as or 2 × as many as petals or sometimes more numerous; filaments distinct or sometimes coherent or connate for at least part of their length; anthers introrse or sometimes latrorse, longitudinally dehiscent. Disk [rarely lacking] within androecium, nectariferous, flattened, annular, cup-shaped, pulvinate, or sometimes columnar, bell-shaped, conic, or hourglass-shaped. Gynoecium of 1-5 distinct 1-loculed carpels or 2 to many partially to completely connate carpels; placentation axile [very rarely becoming parietal]; ovules 1 to many per locule. Fruit of 2-5 follicles [drupes or samaras] or a single follicle, capsule, or berry [or samara]. Seeds with relatively large embryo; endosperm present and fleshy or lacking.
Stamens the same or double the number of the petals, rarely numerous, free or rarely united; anthers 2-celled, introrse, opening lengthwise
Ovary superior, syncarpous and often 4–5-celled, or the carpels free (secondary apocarpy); styles free or connate