Description: Trees or shrubs, commonly with hard reddish or black heartwood; latex absent.
Leaves usually alternate, entire; stipules absent.
Inflorescences axillary, the flowers mostly unisexual and the plants dioecious; female flowers solitary or in small clusters, the male flowers usually clustered or in small cymes. Flowers actinomorphic, 3–7-merous, calyx lobes the same number as the corolla lobes. Male flowers with stamens usually twice as many as the calyx lobes, a vestigial gynoecium frequently present. Female flowers with staminodes, ovary superior, 2–16-locular, ovules usually 2 in each loculus, styles 2–8, mostly free.
Fruit a succulent or leathery berry, [rarely a capsule], usually surrounded by persistent and enlarged calyx.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 5 genera, 450 species, widespread in tropical & subtropical regions, extending into temperate areas. Australia: 1 genus, 15 species, Qld, N.S.W., N.T., W.A., chiefly tropical
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Ebenaceae, Order: Ericales)
The family is the source of ebony, the very heavy, hard, black heartwood of Diospyros ebenum J. König and D. reticulata Willd. and related species. The Persimmon, D. kaki L., is widely cultivated for its edible fruit.
Text by G. J. Harden