Description from Flora of China
Herbs, shrubs, climbers, or small trees, sometimes prickly; hairs simple, branched, or stellate, sometimes glandular. Leaves solitary or paired, simple or pinnately compound, mostly petiolate; leaf blade entire, dentate, lobed, or parted. Inflorescences axillary, extra-axillary, or leaf opposed, mostly racemose, paniclulate, umbellate, fasciculate, or solitary flowers, without bracts; peduncle branched or not, sometimes obsolete. Flowers bisexual or andromonoecious, mostly actinomorphic, often 5-merous. Calyx mostly lobed partway and splitting further at sinuses. Corolla mostly rotate or stellate. Stamens inserted high in corolla tube; anthers often connivent or connate around style, dehiscing by apical pores, often later splitting longitudinally. Ovary 2-5-locular, with enlarged placentae; ovules axile, numerous. Stigma small. Fruiting calyx persistent, sometimes enlarged and enclosing berry. Berries mostly juicy. Seeds discoid or lenticular; embryo strongly curved.
About 1200 species: most in tropical and subtropical regions, especially in the Americas; 41 species in China, about half introduced from elsewhere.