Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs evergreen, without stinging hairs. Leaves alternate; stipules early caducous, intrapetiolar, 2-cleft; leaf blade 3-5-veined, often woolly abaxially, margin crenate-serrate; cystoliths punctiform. Inflorescences axillary, glomerules forming spikes or panicles of unisexual flowers (plants dioecious or rarely monoecious); bracts small. Male flowers: perianth lobes 4 or 5, valvate; stamens 4 or 5; filaments inflexed in bud; rudimentary ovary woolly. Female flowers: perianth tube 4- or 5-dentate, thinly fleshy in fruit; staminodes absent. Ovary enclosed, adnate to perianth; style present; stigma filiform, villous on 1 side, deciduous; ovules erect. Achene closely enclosed by slightly enlarged and somewhat fleshy perianth. Seeds with very little endosperm; cotyledons broad.
The fibers are used to make ropes.
About 40 species: China (Taiwan), Indonesia, Japan (Ryukyu Islands), Malaysia; N Australia, Madagascar, Mascarene Islands, Pacific Islands (Hawaii, Polynesia); one species in China.
(Authors: Chen Jiarui (陈家瑞 Chen Chia-jui); Ib Friis, C. Melanie Wilmot-Dear)