Combretaceae R. Br., Prodr.: 351 (1810), nom. cons.
  • C. A. Stace
Part of the The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants book series (FAMILIES GENERA, volume 9)


Trees, shrubs, subshrubs or lianes, sometimes mangroves, rarely spiny. Indumentum almost always of unicellular, slender, thick-walled, pointed hairs with a distinctive basal compartment (‘Combretaceous hairs’) alone or with glandular hairs of one (or rarely both) of two types — short, capitate stalked glands, and subsessile peltate scales. Leaves opposite (or whorled) or spiral, petiolate, simple, entire, with pinnate venation, often with a pair of petiolar glands or domatia; stipules 0 or vestigial. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, capitate to expanded, of simple or paniculate spikes or less often racemes. Flowers with simple, usually caducous bracts, bisexual, or bisexual and male in same inflorescence, or rarely dioecious, 4- to 5-merous, actinomorphic, or sometimes weakly zygomorphic, epigynous or rarely semi-epigynous; hypanthium (receptacle) surrounding ovary (lower hypanthium) and extended beyond into saucer- to tube-shaped upper hypanthium, with 2 prophylls fused to lower hypanthium in Laguncularieae;sepals 4-5(-8), borne at tip of upper hypanthium, sometimes vestigial, rarely accrescent; petals 4-5, usually borneatorneartipofupperhypanthium, often small, sometimes conspicuous, or often 0; stamens usually twice as many as sepals (rarely to 16), borne inside upper hypanthium usually at two levels, sometimes as many as sepals, rarely second whorl represented by staminodes, exserted or included, with dorsifixed, usually versatile, rarely adnate, 4-locular anthers; nectariferous disk often present at base of upper hypanthium; ovary 1-locular; ovules (1)2-7(-20)(usually 2), apical, pendulous, anatropous, bitegmic, crassinucellate; style simple, with usually punctiform stigma. Fruit 1-seeded, indehiscent or rarely tardily dehiscent, with dry or spongy to succulent wall, often with 2-5 papery to leathery wings; endosperm absent in mature seed;cotyledons usually 2(-5)or fused to appear 1, variously folded or twisted in seed, rarely flat or hemispherical.


Glandular Trichome Chromosome Base Number Glandular Hair Winged Fruit Peltate Scale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Stace
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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