Trees, shrubs or undershrubs, sometimes climbing or with very short or low stems, ± pubescent. Leaves opposite or in whorls of 3, petiolate, often ovate, entire or toothed. cymes axillary or terminal, corymbose, panicled or thyrsoid. Flowers small, whitish or greenish, often polygamous, shortly bracteate. Calyx small, campanulate, slightly 2-lipped or minutely 3-5-toothed. Corolla-tube short, cylindrical with bearded throat, limb 2-lipped, subequally 4-5-lobed, with short, spreading lobes. Stamens 4, didynamous, hardly exserted, inserted below the corolla throat; anthers ovate, with parallel to subdivergent lobes. Ovary 2-4-loculed, with 1-2 ovules in each cell; style linear with shortly 2-fid stigma. Drupe globose to oblong-obovoid, small, with persistent calyx below, stones 4 (or by abortion 1-3)-celled with a central cavity and 2-4-seeded; seeds oblong, small, exalbuminous.
About 200 species, mostly in the tropical and subtropical Africa and Asia; represented here by 2 species.
Pygmaeopremna Merrill, with c.7 species, was distinguished from Premna. by its low or very short stem, sometimes forming a sort of underground runner from which aerial parts develop but remain. stunted. But it does not merit generic rank.