Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs, dioecious; indumentum of simple hairs, often absent. Leaves alternate; stipules 2; petioles short; leaf blade simple, base often asymmetrical, margin entire or serrate, venation pinnate. Inflorescences axillary, sometimes grouped into glomerules, racemes, or panicles. Male flowers pedicellate or sessile; sepals 4-6, distinct, usually unequal, imbricate; petals absent; stamens 1-25, 1 to several whorls surrounding disk or outer ones inserted at margin or sinus of disk, inner ones inserted on disk; filaments free; anthers bilocular, usually introrse, rarely extrorse, longitudinally dehiscent; disk flattened or concave, margin shallowly or deeply fid; rudimentary ovary very small or absent. Female flowers solitary, axillary, sometimes on older branches; sepals as in male; petals absent; disk annular; ovary 1- or 2(or 3)-loculed; ovules 2 per locule; style short, stigmatiform; stigmas 1 or 2(or 3), usually dilated, peltate or reniform. Fruit a drupe, subglobose or ovoid, 1- or 2(or 3)-celled, seeds 1 per locule; exocarp leathery or nearly so; mesocarp fleshy or woody; endocarp woody, papery, or crustaceous. Seeds without caruncle; endosperm fleshy; cotyledons larger and flattened.
The timber from several species is valued.
About 200 species: tropical and subtropical Africa, America, and Asia; 12 species (two endemic) in China.
(Authors: Li Bingtao (李秉滔 Li Ping-tao); Michael G. Gilbert)