Trees, shrubs, suffrutices or lianes; branches sometimes with coiled tendrils (Gouania and Helinus). Stipules present, sometimes spiny. Leaves alternate (sometimes opposite or subopposite) or fasciculate, simple. Flowers bisexual or rarely unisexual, actinomorphic. Sepals (4-)5. Petals (4-)5 or 0. Disk usually present and well-developed. Ovary superior, subinferior or inferior, 2-4-locular. Fruit a drupe, capsule or schizocarp.