Erect or climbing trees or shrubs, rarely herbs, often spiny, of about 50 genera and 600 species of wide distribution. Lvs. mostly alternate, simple, with minute deciduous stipules: fls. small, regular, bisexual or rarely unisexual, usually borne in cymes; calyx 4-5 lobed; petals 4-5 or 0; stamens 4-5, opposite petals and inserted with them at or below margins of fleshy disk which lines the calyx tube, the filaments free, slender; ovary superior or inferior, free or partially immersed in disk, 2-4 celled, with 1-ovule or basal in each cell, stigma 2-4-lobed; fr. a drupe or caps. (Bailey 644).