Tree, shrub or herb, dioecious (rarely) or monoecious. Exudate absent*. Unarmed*. Indumentum present, hairs simple, often glandular, rarely stellate. Stipules free*, simple, unlobed, entire *, not spine-like*, not leaf-like*, without glands. Leaves alternate, simple, unlobed, toothed, base symmetrical, blade not pellucid-punctate, leaf glands 0; venation pinnate or with 3–7 strong veins from base; domatia absent*; stipel-like appendages present or absent. Petiole present or leaves almost sessile, without swellings or bends at base or apex*, without glands. Inflorescence with axis, axillary or terminal or mixed, solitary or paired, unisexual or bisexual, spicate, rarely racemose or paniculate; male inflorescence always axillary; bisexual inflorescences commonly male above, female at the base, rarely the reverse; male bracts small, female bracts usually accresent; bracts glandular or not, sometimes leaf-like (female flowers), green; pedicels present (sometimes absent in female flowers), not articulated*. Male flowers: sepals 4, valvate, partially fused, greenish; petals 0; disc 0; stamens 8 (12), free; anther with conspicuous modification, thecae extrorse in bud; pistillode absent. Female flowers: sepals 3–5, imbricate, free, greenish; petals 0; disc 0; ovary locules 1–3, ovules per locule 1; styles 2–3, free or partially to completely fused (stigmas may be free), entire, 2-lobed at apex, or more usually laciniate at apex, (i.e. ultimate divisions per locule 1–many), often reddish, styles or stigmas not flat*, surface smooth*; staminodes absent. Fruit 3-lobed, dehiscent or indehiscent, variously sculptured: smooth, horned, spiny, bristly, tuberculate, warty or winged, glabrous or hairy, greenish to brown; seed carunculate or not, not fleshy, without membraneous layer*; embryo flat, not minute, cotyledons leaf-like.
An asterisk * indicates a state has been assumed but not yet confirmed.