Herbs, shrubs, small trees, or climbers. Stems sometimes prickly, rarely thorny; hairs simple, branched, or stellate, sometimes glandular. Leaves alternate, solitary or paired, simple or pinnately compound, without stipules; leaf blade entire, dentate, lobed, or divided. Inflorescences terminal, overtopped by continuing axes, appearing axillary, extra-axillary, or leaf opposed, often apparently umbellate, racemose, paniculate, clustered, or solitary flowers, rarely true cymes, sometimes bracteate. Flowers mostly bisexual, usually regular, 5-merous, rarely 4- or 6-9-merous. Calyx mostly lobed. Petals united. Stamens as many as corolla lobes and alternate with them, inserted within corolla, all alike or 1 or more reduced; anthers dehiscing longitudinally or by apical pores. Ovary 2-5-locular; placentation mostly axile; ovules usually numerous. Style 1. Fruiting calyx often becoming enlarged, mostly persistent. Fruit a berry or capsule. Seeds with copious endosperm; embryo mostly curved.
Corolla gamopetalous, usually 5-lobed, lobes folded, contorted or valvate
Stamens inserted on the corolla-tube and alternate with its lobes; anthers 2-celled, cells parallel, opening lengthwise or by apical pores
Ovary 2-celled, the cells sometimes again divided by a false septum; style terminal