Herbs, perennial, scandent, glabrous or pubescent. Leaves alternate, pedate, with 3-9 leaflets, rarely simple; leaflet blade ovate-lanceolate. Tendrils bifurcate, rarely simple. Plants dioecious, rarely monoecious. Flowers unisexual, in racemes or panicles, axillary or terminal; pedicel articulate; bracteole basal. Male flower: calyx tube short, 5-lobed; segments narrowly lanceolate; corolla greenish or white, rotate, deeply 5-lobed; segments lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, involute in bud; stamens 5, inserted at base of perianth tube; filaments short, connate; anthers erect, ovoid, 2-celled, dehiscence longitudinal; connective narrow, but not extended; pollen grains globose or elliptic, longitudinally striate or smooth, dehiscent by pores; rudimentary pistil absent. Female flowers: calyx and corolla as in male flower; staminodes present; ovary globose, 2-5-locular; styles 3, rarely 2, 4, or 5, free; stigmas 2 or 1 and crescent-shaped and irregularly incised-dentate; ovules 2, pendulous in each locule. Berry globose, in form and size like a pea, or capsule, 3-lobed from top, top umbonulate or with 3 persistent long styles. Seeds 2 or 3, broadly ovate, compressed, with papillae or spiniform papillae.