A family of small trees and shrubs, with a few climbers, herbs, and epiphytes, in which the leaves are opposite, without stipules, and mostly with several main nerves. The flowers are hermaphrodite, and have 4 or 5 free sepals and petals, geniculate stamens with a prominent appendage, porous anthers, and usually an inferior ovary. The fruit is a berry or capsule. There are 215 genera, with about 4750 species, found mainly in the tropics and subtropics, but with a few in warm temperate regions; they are especially common in S. America.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.