Monoecious or dioecious, +/- glabrous shrubs or subherbaceous undershrubs. Leaves alternate, distichous, at least shortly petiolate, simple, entire, penninerved. Inflorescences : flowers axillary, in unisexual or bisexual fascicles; if unisexual, male flowers several per fascicle, female flowers usually solitary. Male flowers on long, very slender pedicels; sepals 5, imbricate; petals 0; disc annular or patelliform, slightly lobed, lobes opposite sepals; stamens 5; filaments partly to almost entirely fused into a stout column; anthers quadrilobate, extrorse, laterally dehiscent; pistillode cylindric, 3-lobed or +/- entire, at apex of staminal column. Female flowers on very long, slender pedicels distinctly articulate near base; sepals and disc as in male flowers; ovary 3-locular, smooth, glabrous, with 2 ovules per locule; styles 3, slightly connate at base, bipartite or deeply bifid; stigmas usually capitate. Fruits 3-lobed, dehiscing septicidally into 3 bivalved cocci, leaving a persistent columella; endocarp thinly woody. Seeds often 1 per locule due to abortion, reniform, pitted, ecarunculate; endosperm copious; cotyledons broad, flat; radicle more than half as long as cotyledons, bent.
Species +/- 20, tropics of Old and New World; sthn trop. Afr. 1: Meineckia phyllanthoides Baill. subsp. trichopoda (Mull.Arg.) Webster, Angola.
Cluytiandra Mull.Arg . ; Hiern: 956 (1900); Hutchinson: 738 (1912).