Description from Flora of China
Plants herbaceous or woody vines, perennial, tendrillate, glabrous. Roots tuberous or fleshy. Stems terete; tendrils axillary, (minutely 3-forked or) simple. Leaves simple, alternate, petiolate; stipules triangular, minute; petiole apex or blade base with 2 glands. Plants (monoecious or) dioecious. Inflorescences axillary, cymose-corymbose, pedunculate, few- to many flowered, tendrillate at center; bracts and bracteoles triangular, minute. Flowers yellowish or green, often red punctate, unisexual, with solid tissue (stipe) subtending hypanthium articulate at pedicel. Hypanthium narrowly to broadly cup-shaped. Sepals (calyx lobes) 5, partially connate into calyx tube, imbricate, persistent. Petals 5, free, attached at hypanthium apex, greenish, creamy, or white, mostly smaller than sepals, included. Septa, when present, adnate with hypanthium and filaments or staminodes, dividing hypanthium into 5 sacs. Corona absent or a laciniate to membranous ring at apex of hypanthium. Disk glands 5 or absent, ligulate, truncate, inserted at or near base of hypanthium, alternating with petals. Male flower: stamens 5, hypogynous or perigynous, variably inserted in hypanthium; filaments free or partially connate into tube, often fused abaxially to septa; vestigial ovary present. Female flower with stamens reduced to subulate staminodes; ovary superior on gynophore, globose, with 3 parietal placentas; remnant stamen tube, if present, not adnate with gynophore; ovules numerous, anatropous; styles 3, free or partially fused; stigmas laciniate or plumose to densely woolly. Fruit a 3-valved capsule, bright red. Seeds with pitted testa, black at maturity, enclosed in fleshy aril.
About 100 species: Old World tropics and subtropics; three species in China.
(Authors: Wang Yinzheng (王印政); David Hearn)