Dioecious trees, glabrous or with simple indumentum. Leaves simple or subverticillate, often crowded at shoot apices, petiolate, simple, entire, penninerved, varying greatly in size; stipules triangular-lanceolate, readily caducous. Inflorescences terminal or in axils of uppermost leaves, paniculate, solitary; males several-flowered, females 1-flowered; bracts resembling stipules. Male flowers subsessile; sepals (4)5, imbricate; petals (4)5, somewhat smaller than sepals; disc glands 5, epipetalous; stamens 5, episepalous, alternating with disc glands, filaments free, anthers introrse, medifixed, connective apically pigmented and glandular, thecae parallel, longitudinally dehiscent; pistillode obconic-cylindric, truncate and slightly trilobate at apex. Female flowers shortly pedicellate; sepals and petals +/- as in male flowers or petals 0; disc shallowly cupular, 5-lobed, lobes alternating with sepals; ovary 3-locular, with 2 ovules per locule; styles 3, +/- free, short, shortly bilobed, papillose. Fruit +/- ellipsoid, loculicidally dehiscent into 3 valves; exocarp crustaceous; endocarp thin, horny; columella persistent, tripartite. Seeds 1 per locule by abortion, compressed ovoid-ellipsoid, often remaining attached to columella after dehiscence, shiny; exotesta papyraceous, reddish brown; mesotesta spongiose or chartaceous, white; endotesta thin, crustaceous; endosperm scanty, forming thin strata; embryo straight; cotyledons broad, flat.
Monotypic genus: Spondianthus preussii Engl., trop. Africa; sthn trop. Afr.: Angola.