Shrubs or rarely small trees, rarely foetid, glabrous to hairy or strigose. Leaves opposite, mostly acuminate, thin to coriaceous, petiolate, usually with many arching lateral nerves and close venation; stipules interpetiolar, usually broadly triangular or lanceolate, not divided, persistent or deciduous. Flowers bisexual or sometimes unisexual, sometimes heterostylous, mostly small, mostly in sessile axillary fascicles or glomerules or less often in pedunculate, simple or branched inflorescences; pedicels mostly absent; bracts present, usually small. Calyx: tube subglobose, ovoid, oblong or urceolate; limb 3-6-toothed or lobed, persistent. Corolla often white or pink, salver-shaped or somewhat funnel-shaped; tube densely hairy at throat; lobes 4-6, spreading or erect. Stamens 4-6, arising in throat of corolla; filaments very short; anthers dorsifixed near their base, included or shortly exserted. Disc swollen and fleshy. Ovary 4-12-locular; ovules solitary in each locule, erect from base, bent, anatropous; style short or elongate, glabrous or hairy, shortly 4-10-lobed at apex, lobes linear or obtuse. Fruits succulent, very often blue but sometimes pink, purple, white or black, with 4-12 pyrenes; pyrenes cartilaginous or bony, segment-shaped or pyriform, 3-angled with flat sides, dorsal curved face often grooved, keeled or winged, 1-seeded. Seeds narrowly oblong, curved, with membranous testa and fleshy albumen.
Species +/- 170, predominantly in eastern tropical Asia, +/- 20 species in trop. Africa and 1 in the W. Indies; sthn trop. Afr. 3, Angola (Cabinda), Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique.

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith