Description: Trees or shrubs, mostly dioecious.
Leaves usually alternate, simple, margins entire or toothed; petiolate, stipules small or absent.
Inflorescences axillary racemes or panicles of cymes, or in terminal and subterminal racemes, or rarely flowers solitary. Flowers actinomorphic, commonly unisexual, usually 4-merous. Sepals usually 4, free or cohering at base, imbricate. Petals usually 4, free or slightly fused at base, imbricate or valvate. Stamens equal in number to petals, sometimes epipetalous; filaments free; anthers 2-locular, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, introrse. Disc absent. Ovary superior, of 4–8 fused carpels; usually 4–8-locular, with 1 pendent ovule per loculus; style terminal, short; stigma sessile, capitate or discoid.
Fruit drupaceous with as many pyrenes as carpels, or fewer.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 3 or 4 genera, c. 400 species, tropical & temperate regions, especially South America & eastern Asia. Australia: 2 genera, 4 species, Qld, N.S.W., N.T., W.A.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Aquifoliaceae, Order: Aquifoliales)
Text by W. K. Allen