- Leaves simple, alternate, entire, distichous.
- Nodes usually swollen.
- With stipule fused to petiole or sheathing node, leaving circular scar.
- Often with stipule-like prophyll enclosing new twig and leaf buds
- Aromatic or spicy odor.
- Tiny flowers on (mostly) unranched pencil-shaped inflorescences.
- Single-seeded fruit embedded in the thicked inflorescence, rarely individually stalked.
Diagnosis: Srubs and small trees, rarely climbers, spicy or aromatic odors (e.g. sassafras), with a fused stipule that leaves a circular scar at the node and sometimes also fused to the petiole leaving a large scar when it degenerates, many also with a stipule-like prophyll that encloses the twig and leaf buds, leaves simple, alternate, entire, petiole base often sheathing the node, mostly distichous, nodes usually swollen, inflorescence arising opposite the petiole, inflorescence a characteristic slender spike with many tiny closely-packed flowers.
|Polygonaceae||: nodes not swollen, no spicy odor, stipule encloses node and part of twig above node.
Diversity: Total: 3 genera, 85 species. Trees: 1 genus, about 5 species.