Shrubs or trees, rarely undershrubs or herbs, occasionally scandent. Leaves opposite-decussate, rarely verticillate, entire to dentate, rarely lobed, petiolate, exstipulate. Inflorescence cymose, axillary or terminal, cymes di- or trichotomous, panicled, corymbose or umbellate, rarely of solitary flowers. Flowers usually large, showy, white, yellowish, blue, violet or red, zygomorphic, bracteate. Calyx campanulate to somewhat tubular, truncate 5-toothed or fid, green to white or red coloured, persistent, often enlarged in fruit. Corolla-tube usually elongated, straight or curved; limb subequally 5-lobed, anterior one being the largest. Stamens 4, didynamous, epipetalous, alternating with corolla-lobes, curved above and much exserted; anthers ovate or oblong. Ovary 2-carpellary, incompletely 4-loculed with 1, pendulous ovule in each locule; style as long as the stamens and similarly curved with acutely 2-fid stigma. Fruit a fleshy drupe, somewhat 4-lobed, globose to obovoid, with hard or brittle endocarp, breaking into 4 or 2 pyrenes at maturity; seeds oblong.
A large genus of c. 400 species in the tropical and sub-tropical Asia, Africa and America; represented here by 7 species, of these only one is wild.