Adoxaceae—the elderberry, or moschatel, family— has five genera and 200 species. The three smallest genera (Adoxa, Sinadoxa, and Tetradoxa) are exclusively herbaceous, while the larger genera (Viburnum and Sambucus) are both woody and herbaceous. These latter genera are found mostly in the north temperate zone, but Viburnum also grows on some tropical mountains.
Most members of Adoxaceae have flat-topped inflorescences composed of numerous small flowers that produce fleshy drupes. These flowers are five-petaled, radially symmetric (with many planes of symmetry), and feature lobed stigmas on a short style and a fleshy nectary atop the ovary. With the exception of Viburnum, which has simple leaves and flowers with three carpels (of which two abort), the other genera of Adoxaceae have compound leaves and five carpels.