Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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T. Chakrabarty & N. P. Balakrishnan

Trees, shrubs, rarely subshrubs or perennial herbs, monoecious or dioecious, mostly glabrous, evergreen. Leaves alternate or opposite, simple, entire, rarely toothed, penninerved or rarely 5- or 3-nerved. Inflorescences mostly axillary, rarely pseudo-terminal, cymose fascicles, dense-flowered spiciform racemes, rarely head-like or flowers solitary; flowers unisexual or rarely a few bisexual, actinomorphic, each in axil of a bract, shortly pedicelled or sessile, with male flowers more numerous than female flowers, sometimes male flowers in capitate clusters (in Simmondsia). Male flowers: sepals usually 4, 5 or 6, rarely absent, often basally short connate; petals and disc absent; stamens 4 - 6, rarely 10 - 12, when 4 then opposite to sepals, when 6 two pairs opposite to inner sepals; anthers large, oblong, basifixed, sessile or borne on fairly long filaments; thecae dehiscing longitudinally by 2 valves; pistillode present or absent. Female flowers: often solitary or in 2 - 7-flowered pendulous racemes, often pedicellate; sepals as in male; staminodes absent; ovary superior, mostly 3-locular, sometimes 2- or 4-locular; ovules 1 or 2 per locule, on axile placentation, pendulous or patent from apex or axis, anatropous, with a dorsal raphe, bitegmic, crassinucellate; styles (2 -) 3 (- 4), free or basally connate, contiguous or widely separated and undivided, persistent; stigmas decurrent. Fruits capsular and loculicidally dehiscent, sometimes explosively, or occasionally fleshy, berry-like and indehiscent; seeds 1 or more, compressed, often glossy black, sometimes with a caruncle; endosperm fleshy, copious, rarely absent (in Simmondsia); embryo straight, linear, terete; cotyledons flat or thick.

Warm temperate and subtropical regions of both hemispheres, showing disjunct distribution, mostly in eastern Asia (Japan, China, Indo-china and N.E. India), scarce in eastern America to Andes, absent in Polynesia and Australia, 4 genera and ca 70 species; 2 genera and 8 species indigenous and one genus with one species cultivated in India.

Literature. CHAKRABARTY, T. & N. P. BALAKRISHNAN (2005). The family Buxaceae in the Indian subcontinent. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 29: 173 - 186, t. 1.


1 a. Plants dioecious; male flowers with 4 or 5 sepals; stamens 10 - 12; rudimentary pistil absent in male flowers (Cult.) 0. Simmondsia
b. Plants monoecious; male flowers with 4 or 6 sepals; stamens 4 - 6; rudimentary pistil present in male flowers 2
2 a. Leaves opposite; female flowers in upper part of the racemes or flower-clusters, above the male flowers; fruits loculicidally dehiscent capsules, 6-seeded; seeds with caruncle 1. Buxus
b. Leaves alternate; female flowers at the base of the racemes, below the male flowers; fruits subdrupaceous, indehiscent, 3-seeded; seeds without caruncle 2. Sarcococca

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