|Abstract||Monoecious or dioecious (?), evergreen, deciduous or semideciduous shrubs or trees, (in Mal.) unarmed and often buttressed. Growth habit (in Mal.) flush-wise, except for Trema and Parasponia. Indumentum of simple, bulbous-based unicellular hairs and/or multicellular glandular hairs. Stipules caducous or rarely rather long persistent and completely enclosing the bud, extrapetiolar or intrapetiolar, basally attached or rarely peltately attached to the nodes, free or connate. Leaves simple, (in Mal.) alternately arranged, petioled, pinnately nerved or triplinerved at base, often asymmetrical at base, entire or variously serrate. Inflorescences 1-manyflowered, ♂, ♀, ♂♀, or axillary, subterminal, or borne on leafless, older branchlets or on short, lateral, leafless new shoots, paniculate, racemose, thyrsoid, cymoid, or rarely capitate, bracteate; bracts minute, caducous. Flowers functionally ♂, ♀, or Flowers solitary or in condensed cymoid clusters along the rachis, sessile or short-pedicelled; perianth (4—)5(—7)-lobed, lobes free or variously connate, imbricate or induplicate-valvate in bud; stamens as many as tepals, attached to the base of and opposite the perianth lobes, straight or incurved in bud; anthers ovoid, ellipsoid or subreniform, apiculate or non-apiculate, initially tetrasporangiate, later becoming 2-celled, dehiscing lengthwise, introrse or extrorse; pistillode present or absent, if present either rather well developed or rudimentary, densely whitish to silvery, soft or hirsute pubescent. — ♀ & ♀ Flowers sessile or stalked, solitary in the axils of the upper new leaves or arranged in various types of inflorescences; perianth herbaceous or thin-coriaceous, (4—)5(—7)-lobed, lobes always imbricate in bud and connate at base, (in Mal.) long persistent; staminodes or stamens as many as perianth lobes or absent; ovary superior, 2-carpellate, (in Mal.) 1-celled, sessile or stipitate; style 1, tubular, short or absent, stigmatic arms 2, slender, often bifid to deeply lobed at the tip, adaxially papillose-stigmatic for their entire length; ovule 1, anatropous to hemi-anatropous, subapical, pendulous, bitegmic. Fruit a drupe or a samara, faintly angular or flat and winged. Seed mostly exalbuminous; embryo large, straight or curved; cotyledons flat-convex, fleshy, straight or variously folded, often foliaceous. Germination mostly epigeal.|
Distribution. There are 15 genera, c. 200 spp., widely distributed in the tropics, subtropics, and temperate regions of Europe (as far north as 70°, Scandinavia), Africa (South of Sahara), continental Asia, Malesia, Australia (Queensland and New South Wales), Pacific Islands (as far as Tahiti; incl. also Hawaii and the Galapagos Is.), North, Central, and South America (as far south as 40°, Argentina). Fig. 1.