Small shrubs with scaly buds. Leaves alternate, petiolate, entire, (3-) 5 nerved, glabrous. Inflorescence dense axillary racemes or clusters with male flowers towards apex and females at the base, or male and female racemes in separate axils. Bracts 2 in male but several in female flowers. Sepals 4. Stamens 4, free, inserted on receptacle around vestiges of ovary, exserted, anthers oblong, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, eventually recurved. Ovary bi- or tri-carpellary, syncarpous, 2-3 loculed, with 2 ovules in each locule; rudimentary ovary in male flowers urn-shaped or cupular, truncate; styles 2-3, free, erect, ultimately recurved. Fruit ovoid to globose, fleshy or somewhat dry, 1(-2) seeded drupe with bony endocarp. Seeds without caruncle, somewhat globose or hemispherical.
Species 16-20; distributed from Afghanistan through Indo-Pakistan sub-continent to Central China and Sri Lanka (Ceylon) to South-East Asia and Philippine Isles.