Shrubs [trees]. Leaves: blade flat, coriaceous [subcoriaceous], margins dentate or entire [serrate or glandular-serrate], flat. Inflorescences terminal, panicles; bracts opposite, distinct; bracteoles 1–2 per flower. Pedicels present. Staminate flowers: sepals 4, triangular to suborbiculate, minute; petals 4, apex acuminate [caudate]; nectary present, annular; stamens alternate with petals, anthers dorsifixed. Pistillate flowers: sepals 4, triangular to suborbiculate, minute; petals 4; nectary present, annular; ovule 1; style 1, cylindric; stigma capitate, sometimes slightly 2(–4)-lobed. Fruits drupes, red, drying black, cylindric to ovoid, fleshy. Seeds 1 per fruit. x = 8.
Introduced; e Asia, introduced also in Europe, Pacific Islands (New Zealand), Australia.
Species 10 (1 in the flora).
Species of Aucuba are commonly planted in temperate gardens because of their evergreen habit, glossy leaves, and brightly colored drupes. Inflorescences may sometimes appear axillary, but actually are terminal in association with branches arising from the axils of the subtending pair of leaves.