Trees or shrubs, generally aromatic, with alternate entire pinnately veined leaves. Stipules none. Sepals 3 (rarely 2), valvate or rarely imbricate. Petals about 6, arranged in 2 series. Stamens 00; anthers adnate, extrorse. Carpels 00, separate or coherent, mainly fleshy in fruit. Seeds large, anatropous; embryo minute; endosperm copious, wrinkled.

About 46 genera and 550 species, mostly in the tropics, a few in the temperate zones.