Description: Herbs, climbers, shrubs or trees.
Leaves opposite, simple, usually with 3, 5, 7 or rarely 9 main longitudinal veins; stipules usually absent.
Inflorescences cymose. Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic except for the stamens, blue, purple, pink or white. Sepals and petals mostly 4 or 5, free. Stamens 8 or 10, rarely 3 or 4, sometimes dimorphic; filaments thick; anthers large, usually opening by terminal pores, the base of the connective often bearing appendages of various kinds. Ovary usually 3–5-locular, inferior or rarely superior; ovules mostly numerous, placentation axile; style simple.
Fruit a berry, or a pulpy or dry capsule opening irregularly or by slits; seeds usually small and numerous.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 215 genera, 4750 species, tropical to temperate regions, mainly South America, Malesia & tropical Africa. Australia: 7 genera, 9 species, Qld., N.S.W., N.T., W.A.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Melastomataceae, Order: Myrtales)
Several species ard cultivars are grown as ornamentals.
Text by Peter G. Wilson