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Family Celastraceae

Description: Trees, shrubs, or climbers.

Leaves alternate or opposite, simple; stipules minute or absent.

Inflorescence axillary or terminal, cymose or racemose or flowers clustered or sometimes solitary. Flowers actinomorphic, bisexual and/or unisexual and then plants polygamous, monoecious or dioecious, 3–5-merous. Sepals 3–5 imbricate or valvate. Petals 3–5. Stamens mostly 2–5, alternate with petals, inserted on or beneath disc; anthers 2-locular, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Disc various, usually conspicuous. Ovary partly, completely or not at all immersed in disc, 1–10-locular with 1 to many ovules per loculus; style prominent, short or obsolete.

Fruit a loculicidal capsule or drupe; seeds often arillate, sometimes winged.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 55 genera, c. 850 species, widespread in tropical & temperate regions. Australia: 16 genera, c. 38 species, Qld, N.S.W., N.T., W.A.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Celastraceae, Order: Celastrales)
Wikipedia

Hippocratea and related genera (2–14 gen., c. 300 spp.) are sometimes recognized as a separate family, the Hippocrateaceae.

Text by T. A. James
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Leaves opposite or nearly so2
Leaves alternate3
2Climbing shrubs or vines; stamens mostly 3; fruit a capsule, several-seededHippocratea
Erect shrubs or trees; stamens mostly 4; fruit a drupe, 1-seeded
                       Back to 1
Elaeodendron
3Fruit a hard fleshy drupe, indehiscentSiphonodon
Fruit a capsule, dehiscent
                       Back to 1
4
4Scandent shrubs or vines; flowers unisexual, plants dioecious; branches with conspicuous lenticelsCelastrus
Erect shrubs or trees; flowers bisexual; branches without conspicuous lenticels
                       Back to 3
5
5Capsules 5-locular with 5 valves; flowers reddish purpleHedraianthera
Capsules 2–4-locular with 2–4 valves; flowers whitish or greenish yellow
                       Back to 4
6
6Flowers solitary; leaves sessile, needle-likeApatophyllum
Flowers few to many, in cymes or racemes; leaves petiolate, not needle-like
                       Back to 5
Denhamia

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