Elaeocarpaceae

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Abstract

Trees to suffrutescent, sometimes ericoid; sometimes buttressed; bark without exudate; indumentum of simple hairs, sometimes gland-tipped or stellate. Leaves spirally arranged, distichous, opposite or rarely whorled, simple (rarely pinnatisect or pinnate in juveniles), entire to serrate, venation usually pinnate, ± trinerved at base in Vallea and in some Aristotelia and Sloanea; stipules present, or 0 when colleters may occur. Flowers regular, bisexual (unisexual in some Aristotelia and Elaeocarpus), solitary and axillary, in fascicles or in terminal or axillary simple or compound inflorescences, either cymose or racemose; sepals usually free, valvate, rarely imbricate at tip; petals present (0 in some Sloanea), free, valvate at insertion and usually (induplicate-)valvate further up but sometimes overlapping at apex (in some Sloanea variously fused even into a tube), usually expanded and variously toothed or lobed, sometimes entire and sepaloid; disk a toothed ring or separate lobes or pulvinate or flat-topped, or 0; stamens 4–300, free, inserted on or above the disk or around free disk-lobes, filaments shorter to longer than the anthers, anthers basifixed, tetrasporangiate, opening at apex by 1–2 pores (sometimes extended into a tube) or short slits (sometimes extending to base), connective sometimes extended (‘awned’); ovary superior, syncarpous (internal fusion sometimes incomplete at apex); loculi 2–8(9); ovules 1-30/loculus, pendulous, anatropous, attached to axis in 1–2 series; style simple or apically branched, rarely stylodia free. Fruit indehiscent (a drupe or berry) or dehiscent (walls thin, horny or woody, initially fleshy in Vallea), splitting loculicidally or loculicidally and septicidally, sometimes spiny or bristly (Sloanea p.p.). Seeds 1-many, up to c. 15/loculus, variously ‘arillate’ or with watery or fleshy sarcotesta or seed coat dry when sometimes with fine or rarely stout (Platytheca) hairs; embryo embedded in endosperm, usually straight with broad (sometimes narrow) cotyledons.