Annual or perennial herb or shrub, often tree-like in size, monoecious. Exudate absent*. Unarmed*. Glabrous throughout. Stipules connate into a sheath, deciduous, leaving a scar, not spine-like*, not leaf-like*. Leaves distributed evenly along stem, alternate, simple, lobed, margin glandular-toothed, base peltate, symmetrical, blade not pellucid-punctate; with 3 – 7 strong veins from base; domatia absent*; stipel-like appendages absent*. Petiole present, long, without swellings or bends at base or apex*, with glands at apex and base. Inflorescence with axis, axillary, leaf-opposed or almost terminal, paniculate, all flowers female or lower flowers male, upper female; bracts glandular, not leaf-like*, green, falling early; pedicels present, articulated. Male flowers: calyx membraneous, sepals 3–5, valvate, partially fused, greenish; petals 0; disc 0; stamens up to c. 1000; filaments variously united into branching fascicles; anther with conspicuous modification; pistillode absent. Female flowers: sepals 5, valvate, free, greenish, falling early; petals 0; disc 0; ovary locules 3, ovules per locule 1; styles 3, free or slightly fused at base, 2-branched (i.e. ultimate divisions per locule 2), styles or stigmas not flat*, surface papillose or plumose, usually dark red; staminodes absent. Fruit dehiscent, smooth, spiny or bristly, hairy or glabrous, 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.