Perennial forest floor herbs, mostly with slender creeping stems rooting at nodes. Leaves opposite, with mostly long petioles; blades ovate-cordate to rounded-reniform; stipules interpetiolar, ovate, entire or bilobed at apex. Flowers bisexual, sometimes heterostylous, mostly in terminal umbels or sometimes solitary, often on long peduncles held erect from main stems, occasionally with an involucre of quite conspicuous bracts. Calyx: tube obovoid, limb short, 5-7-lobed; lobes subulate or linear, spreading or reflexed, persistent. Corolla cylindric or funnel-shaped; lobes 4-7, spreading or recurved; throat pilose inside. Stamens 4-7, arising in corolla tube; filaments filiform; anthers dorsifixed, included or exserted. Disc swollen. Ovary 2-locular; ovules solitary in each locule, erect from base, anatropous; style slender, included or exserted; stigma lobes 2, linear, densely papillate or stigma subcapitate-bifid. Fruit a drupe, fleshy, containing 2 pyrenes; pyrenes plano-convex, dorsally compressed, obtusely ribbed, rugulose and often with an annular area at junction of ventral and dorsal surfaces, 1-seeded. Seeds same shape as pyrenes, ventral surface plane; testa membranous; endosperm corneous.
Species +/- 15, tropics of Old and New World; sthn trop. Afr. 3, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique.