Description from Flora of China
Shrubs erect or scrambling, glabrous, much branched, smelling rancid when rubbed; spines 1 or 2, axillary. Stipules very small. Leaves opposite, entire. Flowers small, unisexual (plants usually dioecious) or sometimes partially bisexual; pedicels absent or very short. Calyx campanulate, 4-fid or irregularly 2-4-lobed in female flowers. Petals 4, free, oblong or lanceolate. Male flowers: stamens longer than petals; filaments linear, free or with coherent bases; ovary rudimentary or absent. Female flowers: stamens reduced, sterile, shorter than petals; ovary globose, 2-locular or imperfectly 4-locular; stigma 2-fid, subsessile. Bisexual flowers as in females but with 4 fertile stamens. Berry globose or ovoid, 1- or 2(or 3)-seeded; endocarp thin, membranous. Seeds globose, compressed, with a thick, leathery testa.
Three or four species: drier regions of tropical and S Africa, Arabia, India, SE Asia and China; one species in China.