Large genus with approximately 289 trees, shrubs, subshrubs or woody climbing species with opposite or whorled foliage, occasionally arranged alternately. Leaves are roughly scaly and oval in shape. Flowers are variable across species, they are 4 or 5-petalled, however 7 petalled flowers have also been observed and these are produced in a range of colours including red, pink, white, yellow and orange. Flowers may be small and inconspicuous, ranging to big and showy, these are arranged on branched or unbranched stems and most all have double the number of stamens compared to their petal number. Flowers lead onto 4 or 5-winged, showy fruits coloured orange to yellow-green. Most of this genus is native to tropical and southern Africa, with 5 species found in Madagascar, around 25 in tropical Asia and around 40 in tropical America. Notably these species are absent from Australia.