They are evergreenshrubs and trees growing to 35 m (115 ft) tall. The foliage consists of slender, much-branched green to grey-green twigs bearing minute scale-leaves in whorls of 5–20. The apetalous flowers are produced in small catkin-like inflorescences. Most species are dioecious, but a few are monoecious. The fruit is a woody, oval structure superficially resembling a conifer cone, made up of numerous carpels, each containing a single seed with a small wing. The generic name is derived from the Malay word for the cassowary, kasuari, alluding to the similarities between the bird's feathers and the plant's foliage, though the tree is called rhu in current standard Malay.