Description from Flora of China
Trees, deciduous or evergreen. Branchlets never spinose, never corky or winged. Winter buds with scales or not. Stipules 2, free, membranous or thickly papery, leaving a short transverse scar on each side of leaf base, caducous or terminal ones persistent and enveloping winter buds. Leaves alternate in several ranks; leaf blade margin entire or serrate; 3-veined from base; secondary veins anastomosing before reaching margin. Inflorescences panicles, racemes, or clustered cymelets. Flowers small, unisexual or bisexual. Tepals 4 or 5, basally slightly connate, caducous. Stamens equal in number to tepals. Style short; stigmas 2, linear. Ovary unilocular; ovule 1, anatropous. Male flowers: cauliflorus or clustered in proximal leaf axil of one-year-old branchlets. Female and bisexual flowers: usually borne apically in polygamous inflorescences. Fruit a drupe; endocarp bony, reticulately foveolate or nearly smooth. Endosperm scanty or lacking; embryo curved; cotyledons broad.
Most species yield fine timber, the bark is utilized for the manufacturing of ropes and paper, and the seed oil of most species is used for soaps and lubricants.
About 60 species: tropical and temperate areas; 11 species (four endemic) in China.