Evergreen or deciduous trees, scandent shrubs or
woody climbers. Leaves alternate or
spirally arranged, simple or imparipinnately compound; leaflets in the later
case opposite on often somewhat swollen nodes of the rachis; exstipulate. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, usually in
cymes or racemose
panicles, or sometimes solitary axillary flowers. Flowers bisexual or
polygamous-dioecious, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, small. Sepals (3-) 5, sometimes surrounded by several persistent small bracts.
Petals (4-) 5, opposite to sepals,
equal or inner 2 much smaller than outer 3. Stamens (4 or) 5, opposite to
petals. Disk small, annular, or irregularly 5-dentate. Ovary globose to ovoid,
superior. Fruit a drupe or schizocarp, consisting of 1 or 2 mature carpels, 1(or
Seed 1; endosperm (if present) reduced to a very thin layer.