Shrubs, hemiparasitic on the branches of woody dicotyledons, attached by woody haustoria, with or without surface runners producing secondary haustoria. Stems brittle, not articulated. Stipules 0. Leaves alternate or opposite, rarely whorled, simple. Flowers bisexual, 4-5-merous, borne singly or in racemes, umbels or heads. Calyx fused, often a low rim. Corolla usually large and colourful, often red and yellow. Petals free or united into a tube. Ovary inferior. Fruit a 1-seeded berry.