Shrubs deciduous. Leaves alternate, petiolate, usually irregularly and doubly serrate or incised. Male inflorescence enclosed by buds during winter, subsessile, terminal or lateral, spicate-cymose, cylindric; bracts numerous, overlapping; each bract subtending 1 male flower; bracteoles absent; stamens 4-8, inserted at base of bracts; anthers with 2 connate thecae, without hairs at apex. Female inflorescence terminal or axillary, racemose-capitulate; bracts forming a tubular sheath, leathery, lobed at apex; flowers paired, enclosed by bracts. Nutlet ovoid-globose, with prominent ribs, completely enclosed by bracts.