Shrubs or climbers, usually dioecious, scabrous with short stellate or simple hairs; stem exuding a red resin. Leaves alternate, petiolate, varying from simple and ovate to 3(5)-lobed, cordate and with 5 veins, and often with several +/- bottle-shaped glands at base, tips acutely acuminate. Inflorescences : axillary, usually paired, elongate, usually sparsely branched panicles. Male flowers small, clustered in slender panicles; calyx valvate, opening irregularly into 2 or 3 entire or bi- to trifid parts; petals fused into a scarcely lobed tube; disc of 5 or 6 episepalous, hairy glands; stamens 10-20, arising on a convex receptacle, filaments free, erect, unequal, anthers cordate, 2-thecous, introrse, dehiscing longitudinally; rudimentary ovule absent. Female flowers in panicles much smaller than those of male flowers; sepals 5, fused in lower part to almost free; petals 5, free, imbricate, larger and longer than calyx, patent at flowering time; disc annular, hirsute; ovary 3-carpellate and 3-locular, sessile on disc, densely hispid; styles almost free, 2-partite, reflexed, glabrous. Capsule deeply 3-lobed, large, rusty-tomentose, splitting into 3 bivalvate cocci; columella persistent. Seeds ellipsoid to subglobose, glabrous, without caruncle, grey to dark brown.
Monotypic genus: Manniophyton africanum Mull.Arg., trop. Africa; sthn trop. Afr.: Angola, Malawi.