Annual or perennial herbs, dioecious or monoecious. Exudate absent*. Unarmed*. Indumentum present, hairs simple. Stipules free*, simple, unlobed, entire *, not spine-like*, not leaf-like*, without glands. Leaves distributed evenly along stem, opposite, simple, unlobed, margin toothed or less often entire, teeth with or without glands*, base symmetrical, blade not pellucid-punctate; venation pinnate; domatia absent*; stipel-like appendages absent*. Petiole present or absent (leaves sessile), without swellings or bends at base or apex*, without glands. Inflorescence with or without axis, axillary, mostly unisexual, male spicate or racemose, elongate, with flowers in interrupted clusters, female short, spike-like, or flowers in fascicles, sometimes with male flowers intermixed; bracts not leaf-like*, green; pedicels present, short in female flowers, very short or absent in males, not articulated*. Male flowers: calyx membraneous, sepals 3, valvate, partially fused, greenish; petals 0; disc 0; stamens 8–12 (20), free; anther with conspicuous modification, thecae extrorse in bud; pistillode absent. Female flowers: sepals 3, imbricate, free or partially fused, greenish; petals 0; disc glands 2, narrow; ovary locules 2, ovules per locule 1; styles 2, free or scarcely fused, entire, styles or stigmas not flat*, surface strongly papillose; staminodes absent. Fruit dehiscent, not sculptured*, greenish to brown; seed carunculate, without membranous layer*, not fleshy; embryo flat, not minute, cotyledons leaf-like.
An asterisk * indicates a state has been assumed but not yet confirmed.