Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Shrubs, undershrubs or perennial herbs, rarely small trees with winged, angular branchlets. Leaves opposite, rarely ternate or sometimes alternate at ends of shoots, simple, generally exstipulate, but stipules, if present, minute, caducous. Flowers small, hermaphrodite or unisexual, in axillary or terminal racemes. Bracts deciduous. Sepals 5, free, persistent. Petals 5, shorter than sepals, keeled inside, accrescent in fruit and then fleshy. Stamens 10, in alternating whorls of 5 each, inner whorl usually adnate to keel; anthers exserted, dithecous, opening by longitudinal slits (introrse). Carpels 5 - 10(-12), superior, free, 1-loculed with a single pendulous ovule; styles distinct, glandular. Fruit, a collection of dry achenes enclosed in accrescent, fleshy, coloured petals. Seeds compressed; embryo straight, oily, exarillate; endosperm scanty or absent.

Central and S. America, S.W. Europe, N. Africa, Asia, in warm temperate and tropical regions, disjunct in distribution. 1 genus and 15 species; 2 species in India.

Literature. Rau, M.A. (1978) Coriariaceae. Fasc. Fl. India. 1 - 4.

Notes. Hutchinson (Evoln. & Phyl. Fl. Pl. 45. 1969; Fam. Fl. Pl. 3rd ed.: 136. 1973), stated that it is a difficult family to be placed satisfactorily in any system. He included it in a distinct order, Coriariales, and placed it between the Dilleniales and Rosales.

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