Description: Trees, shrubs or climbers, glabrous or hairy; twigs often ± flattened at the nodes.
Leaves simple, mostly opposite, margins toothed, crenate or entire, usually finely oil-dotted and aromatic when crushed; stipules absent.
Inflorescences mostly axillary, cymes, racemes or flowers solitary. Flowers usually actinomorphic, bisexual or unisexual and plants monoecious or dioecious; mostly small and inconspicuous, floral parts hypogynous or more often perigynous with a flat, cup-shaped or urn-shaped receptacle. Perianth segments 4 or more in 2 or more whorls, sometimes inner ones petaloid; outer series mostly of 2 decussate pairs of fleshy segments, inner of 7–20 segments, often some reduced or absent. Stamens 4–12 or many, with or without staminodes; anthers dehiscing either by longitudinal slits or by valves opening upwards from the base. Carpels mostly numerous and free, sometimes enclosed in the urn-shaped receptacle.
Fruit a cluster of either drupes or achenes borne on or within the expanded receptacle.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 30–35 genera, 450 species, chiefly Southern Hemisphere, tropical & temperate regions. Australia: 11 genera, 25 species, Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Monimiaceae, Order: Laurales)
Sometimes the family is divided into a number of smaller families. The Monimiaceae s. str. includes Palmeria, Hedycarya and Wilkiea while the remaining genera in N.S.W. are placed in the Atherospermataceae.
Text by G. J. Harden
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Climbers or scrambling shrubs; young leaves and stems with rough stellate hairs; leaves usually entire, sometimes finely crenate; drupes enclosed in a fleshy receptacle that splits at maturity||Palmeria|
|Trees or erect shrubs; glabrous or hairy, but hairs not stellate; leaves usually toothed, rarely entire or crenate; either drupes borne on an expanded receptacle or hairy achenes borne in a more or less woody receptacle that splits at maturity||2|
|2||Anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits; flowers commonly unisexual and plants dioecious||3|
|Anthers dehiscing by valves opening from the base upwards; flowers bisexual or unisexual and the plants monoecious|
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|3||Leaves leathery, usually thick and rigid; main veins raised and prominent, and reticulum either prominent and raised or obscure; perianth lobes 4 or 6, or 8 by duplication of the lobes to the inside||Wilkiea|
|Leaves thin and soft, but firm; main veins raised and prominent, reticulum prominent but not raised; perianth lobes 6–10 in one whorl|
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|4||Leaves entire or irregularly toothed, and lower surface usually greyish or brownish and densely hairy or rarely green and more or less glabrous; flowers unisexual, solitary||Atherosperma|
|Leaves regularly toothed to crenate, lower surface green and either glabrous or sparsely hairy; flowers bisexual, inflorescences 3–many-flowered|
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|5||Secondary veins forming angle of less than 400with the midvein, looping to form an intramarginal vein; leaves glabrous, with a `sassafras' smell when crushed; perianth segments 4–6; inflorescences 3-flowered||Doryphora|
|Secondary veins forming angle of 25–350 with the midvein, not looping at the ends to form an intramarginal vein; leaves hairy or glabrous, not strongly scented when crushed; perianth segments more than 10; inflorescences more than 4-flowered|
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