Shrub, scrambler, climber or herb, dioecious (rarely) or monoecious. Exudate absent*. Unarmed*. Indumentum present, hairs simple and stinging mixed. Stipules free*, simple, unlobed, entire *, not spine-like*, not leaf-like*, without glands. Leaves distributed evenly along stem, alternate, simple or compound, lobed or unlobed, margin toothed or entire, base symmetrical, blade not pellucid-punctate, leaf glands 0*; with 3 – 7 strong veins from base or 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 axis, axillary (rarely), leaf-opposed or terminal, racemose, solitary, 1–3 females at the base, the rest male; bracts conspicuous, leaf-like or not, green; pedicels present, not articulated*. Male flowers: sepals 3–5, valvate, partially fused, greenish; petals 0; disc glands usually absent, rarely interstaminal, randomly distributed among stamens; stamens 1–50, free or partially fused, very rarely completely fused; anther without conspicuous modification, thecae introrse or (rarely) extrorse in bud; pistillode present or absent. Female flowers: sepals 3–8, in 1–2 rows; imbricate, partially fused or free, sometimes slightly enlarged relative to other floral parts, greenish; petals 0; disc 0; ovary locules 3, ovules per locule 1; styles 3, partially fused, entire, styles or stigmas not flat*, surface smooth or papillose (rarely); staminodes absent. Fruit dehiscent, not sculptured*, greenish to brown; seed without appendage, covering or membraneous layer*, not fleshy; embryo flat, not minute, cotyledons leaf-like.
An asterisk * indicates a state has been assumed but not yet confirmed.