Shrubs or trees, to 12 m. Leaves alternate (distichous), petiolate, stipitate; stipules subulate or filiform [absent or peltate discs]; blade palmately veined, seldom lobed, base often asymmetric, margins serrate, surfaces hairy, hairs usually mixed: unicellular and multicellular, simple with some setiform and some glandular, branched, and stellate, often ± tangled, forming tomentum. Inflorescences: flowers solitary or in clusters of 2–3+, usually supra-axillary; involucel absent [bracteoles ca. 15, filiform]. Flowers: sepals caducous [persistent], (4–)5(–7), valvate, basally distinct or weakly connate; petals caducous, (4–)5(–7), distinct; nectaries absent; stamens 10–75+, filaments distinct or bases connate; ovary superior [inferior], 5–7-carpellate; style 1 ; stigmas 5–7, ± decurrent. Fruits baccate, ± spheric. Seeds [25–]100–200+.
Introduced; Fla., Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, introduced also in Old World.
Genera 3, species 3 (1 in the flora).
Plants included in Muntingiaceae (in the sense of C. Bayer et al. 1998) have been treated in Eleocarpaceae, Flacourtiaceae, or Tiliaceae. Dicraspidia Standley (Central America and Colombia) and Neotessmannia Burret (Peru) are relatively poorly known.