Hard-wooded trees or shrubs with simple alternate entire exstipulate leaves and inconspicuous regular polygamous axillary flowers. Calyx free, 4- to 6-lobed. Corolla 4- to 6-lobed. Stamens 8 to 16. Fruit in the following genus a large globular several-celled berry; cells containing 1 large flat shining albuminous seed. A small order comprising about 150 species, chiefly tropical, a few occurring in China and Japan and North America, and one in Europe.