Description: Shrubs or small trees, mostly dioecious.
Leaves opposite or alternate, mostly toothed, 3-veined from base; stipules usually free, shed early.
Inflorescence spike-like, flowers clustered, most flowers unisexual. Male flowers with 4-lobed perianth, stamens 4. Female flowers with tubular perianth, often compressed or inflated on one side, 2–4-toothed; stigma elongate, pilose on 1 side.
Achene enclosed by the withered perianth.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 100 species, mainly tropical regions. Australia: 2 species, Qld, N.S.W., N.T.
Text by G. J. Harden