Small trees, shrubs or herbs. Stipules 0 or, if present, adnate to the petiole. Leaves simple, alternate or whorled; petiole usually ensheathing the jointed stem; lamina entire. Inflorescence usually a dense, leaf-opposed spike. Flowers minute, bisexual or unisexual, each subtended by a peltate bract. Perianth 0. Stamens 2-several. Ovary superior, 1-locular; stigmas 1-5. Fruit a fleshy 1-seeded drupe.