A family of lianes or shrubs which have alternate or peltate leaves with no stipules and unisexual, small, white or green flowers. The plants are dioecious. The flowers have 2 or 3 petals and often 2 rows of 3 sepals. The stamens and carpels can be very numerous. The stigma is entire or lobed. The fruit is a drupe, often in a horseshoe shape. There are 8 tribes, separated by seed structure, and 78 genera, with 525 species, which are mainly confined to tropical rain forests throughout the world. Several species are useful in medicine and the preparation of drugs.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.