|Abstract||Trees, or whether or not climbing shrubs, or lianas. Leaves spirally arranged, rarely opposite, simple, entire or lobed (in Mal. never crenate or serrate), pennior palmatinerved, exstipulate. Inflorescences mostly axillary, sometimes terminal, rarely extra-axillary, or from old wood, in spikes or spike-like racemes, or often in cymes, both spikes and cymes not rarely collected to panicles or heads, very rarely reduced to few-flowered fascicles or to a solitary flower. Flowers bi- or unisexual, in the latter case at least functionally so, i.e. the plants dioecious, actinomorphic, (4-)5(-6)-, by reduction rarely in part 3-merous, cyclic (with sepals or calyx lobes and petals) or rarely spiral (with petals only in Pyrenacantha, or without petals in the ♀ flowers of Platea and some spp. of Iodes and Gomphandra). Pedicels, if any, articulated with the calyx. Sepals 4-6, free or mostly connate below to various degree to a 4-6-lobed calyx, the lobes imbricate or valvate, generally persistent. Petals 4-6, free or connate below to various degree, sometimes to a tube, the lobes valvate, very rarely subimbricate, tip inflexed, mostly caducous, sometimes persistent. Stamens as many as sepals or petals, episepalous, inserted basally or sometimes in the upper part of the tube; filaments subulate, fleshy, often flattened, or filiform, not rarely with clavate subglandular elongate hairs distally; anthers 2-celled, cells often diverging below, basifixed, latrorse or introrse, in Polyporandra dismissing the pollen from numerous operculate pores. Disk whether or not present, either annular or cup-like, free or adnate to the ovary, or a unilateral fleshy scale. Ovary free, 1-celled (in Pseudobotrys, Gonocaryum and Citronella 2-celled with an empty tube-like unilateral cell) (in Mai.); ovules 2 (rarely 1 abortive), apical, pendent, anatropous, apotropous, unitegmic; style 1 or none; stigma punctiform, subcapitate or peltate, entire or slightly 2-5-lobed or -crenate, often depressed to one side. Drupe ellipsoid to globose, often laterally compressed and almond-like; exocarp generally thin-fleshy; endocarp thin-crustaceous to thick-woody, sometimes spongious or fibrous, often veined or ribbed lengthwise or reticulate-lacunose outside, smooth or with tubercles or blunt aculei inside, the seed pitted then. Seed 1, exarillate, generally with abundant endosperm, which rarely is ruminate; embryo straight; cotyledons whether or not foliaceous.|
Distribution. About 56 genera with c. 300 spp., all woody, predominantly in the tropics, rapidly decreasing in number towards the subtropics; 5 genera with part of their species in the temperate zones of Africa, Asia, Australia and S. America.