Trees or shrubs, sap resinous, oil glands present; leaves opposite or whorled, rarely alternate, simple, estipulate; flowers usually unisexual, sometimes bisexual on the same plant and functionally polygamodioecious, actinomorphic, the  sepals 2-10, decussate or imbricate, the petals 4-12, usually imbricate, stamens few or numerous, hypogynous, distinct or variously united, often collectd into bundles, or phalanges, the anthers 2- celled, dehiscing longitudinally, pistillode often present in staminate flowers, pistil 1, the ovary superior, carpels  3 or 5 or as many as locules, placentation axile, ovules many on each placenta, anatropus, styles as many as locules or carpels and usually connate, the stigmas as many as carpels , fruit capsular, seed with large embryo and no endosperm.