Description from Flora of China
Tithymaloides Ortega; Tithymalus Miller (1754), not Gaertner (1790).
Erect shrubs or subshrubs, monoecious, most parts fleshy; indumentum of simple hairs; latex present, white. Leaves alternate, distichous; stipules small, glandular or not; leaf blade entire; venation pinnate. Inflorescence a strongly zygomorphic cyathium in dichasial cymes or cincinni, bracteate, stalked; cyathophylls inconspicuous; involucre obliquely shoe- or boat-shaped, base oblique, stalked, apex 2-lipped, 2-fid, inner segments shorter and narrower than outer ones, with 2-6 glands at base of involucre, or sometimes eglandular. Flowers unisexual. Male flowers many, each reduced to 1 stamen; filament short, similar to pedicels; anthers globose, thecae introrse, longitudinally dehiscent. Female flower solitary at center of involucre, oblique, with long pedicels; ovary 3-celled; ovules 1 per locule; styles slightly connate; stigmas 3, 2-fid. Fruit a capsule, 3-coccal, central column persistent. Seeds without funicle; caruncle absent.
About 15 species: Central America, cultivated throughout the tropics; one species (introduced) in China.
(Authors: Li Bingtao (李秉滔 Li Ping-tao); Michael G. Gilbert)