Description from Flora of China
Vines, often with conspicuous aerial roots. Leaf blade not peltate, base cordate, sometimes sagittate or hastate, palmately veined. Inflorescences axillary or on old leafless stems, solitary or fascicled, racemose, cymose, or paniculate. Male flowers: sepals usually 6 in 2 whorls, free, imbricate, outer 3 usually conspicuously smaller, membranous; petals (3 or)6, base clawed, often with lateral edges involute; stamens 6, filaments free [or connate], anthers subextrorse, dehiscing longitudinally and obliquely. Female flowers: sepals and petals as in male except petals often smaller; staminodes 6; carpels 3, curved-ellipsoidal, style short, fat and thick, stigma reflexed with short, pointed lobes. Drupes 1-3 borne on a short or columnar carpophore, style scar subterminal; endocarp bony, horseshoe-shaped, abaxially convex and sometimes verrucose or tuberculate, adaxially ± flat; condyle broad, with central aperture leading to a globose cavity. Seed half-moon-shaped; endosperm ruminate; cotyledons foliaceous, ovate, extremely thin, much longer than radicle.
Several species are used medicinally for a wide variety of problems. The ability of the deciduous species to grow from detached stems means that they often benefit from forest clearance. These species are the larval hosts of fruit-piercing noctuid moths that cause significant damage to crops of Citrus (particularly Mandarins) and Dimocarpus longan (Longan) in Thailand.
More than 30 species: widely distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia to Australia and the Pacific islands (24 species), Africa (seven species), and Madagascar (two species); six species (three endemic) in China.