Trees or shrubs, rarely per. herbs, of 50 or more genera and about 1000 species, native to Australia, S. Africa, tropical E. Asia and tropical S. America, yielding ornamental plants and one recommended for edible nuts. Lvs. alternate, rarely opposite, usually coriaceous, entire, toothed or variously divided, exstipulate; fls. solitary or in pairs in the axils of persistent or deciduous bracts, borne in racemes, spikes, umbels or heads, bisexual or rarely unisexual; perianth inferior, of one series, composed of 4 sepals valvate in the bud, with tube cylindrical or dilated toward base and globular ovoid limb; stamens 4, opposite perianth segms. and usually inserted on them; ovary 1-celled, sessile or stipitate; ovules 1 to many, pendulous or parietal; style terminal, undivided with small terminal or lateral stigma; fr. a nut, drupe, caps. or follicle; seeds often compressed and winged. (Bailey 345).