Gynoecium and ovule structure was compared in representatives of the basal eudicots, including Ranunculales (Berberidaceae, Circaeasteraceae, Eupteleaceae, Lardizabalaceae, Menispermaceae, Papaveraceae, Ranunculaceae), Proteales (Nelumbonaceae, Platanaceae, Proteaceae), some families of the former ‘lower’ hamamelids that have been moved to Saxifragales (Altingiaceae, Cercidiphyllaceae, Daphniphyllaceae, Hamamelidaceae), and some families of uncertain position (Gunneraceae, Myrothamnaceae, Buxaceae, Sabiaceae, Trochodendraceae). In all representatives studied, the carpels (or syncarpous gynoecia) are closed at anthesis. This closure is attained in different ways: (1) by secretion without postgenital fusion (Berberidaceae, Papaveraceae, Nelumbonaceae, probably Circaeaster); (2) by a combination of postgenital fusion and secretion; (2a) with a complete secretory canal and partly postgenitally fused periphery (Lardizabalaceae, Menispermaceae, some Ranunculaceae, Sabiaceae); (2b) with an incomplete secretory canal and completely fused periphery (Tro-chodendron); (3) by complete postgenital fusion without a secretory canal (most Ranunculaceae, Eupteleaceae, Platanaceae, Proteaceae, all families of Saxifragales and incertae sedis studied here). Stigmas are double-crested and decurrent in most of the non-ranunculalian taxa; unicellular-papillate in most taxa, but with multicellular protuberances in Daphniphyllaceae and Hamamelidaceae. Carpels predominantly have three vascular bundles, but five in Proteales (without Nelumbonaceae), Myrothamnaceae and Trochodendraceae. The latter two also share ‘oil’ cells in the carpels. Stomata on the outer carpel surface are present in the majority of Ranunculales and Proteales, but tend to be lacking in the saxifragalian families. In basal eudicots, especially in the non-ranunculalian families there is a trend to form more than one ovule per carpel but to develop only one seed, likewise there is a trend to have immature ovules at anthesis. Ovule number per carpel is predominantly one or two. Proteales (without Nelumbonales) mainly have orthotropous ovules, the other groups have anatropous (or hemitropous or campylotropous) ovules. The outer integument is annular in the groups with orthotropous or hemitropous ovules, and also in a number of saxifragalian families with anatropous ovules. In Proteales the integuments are predominantly lobed but there is no distinct pattern in this feature among the other groups. Among Ranunculales two pairs of families (Lardizabalaceae/Menispermaceae and Bcrberidaceae/Papaveraceae) due to similarities in gynoecium structure can be recognized, which are not apparent in molecular analyses. The close relationship of Platanaceae and Proteaceae is supported by gynoecium structure but gynoecial features do not support their affinity to Nelumbonaceae. The alliance of Daphniphyllaceae with Hamamelidaceae s.l. is also supported.