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Family Monimiaceae

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.

External links:
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
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Climbers 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 maturityPalmeria
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 maturity2
2Anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits; flowers commonly unisexual and plants dioecious3
Anthers dehiscing by valves opening from the base upwards; flowers bisexual or unisexual and the plants monoecious
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3Leaves 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 insideWilkiea
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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4Leaves entire or irregularly toothed, and lower surface usually greyish or brownish and densely hairy or rarely green and more or less glabrous; flowers unisexual, solitaryAtherosperma
Leaves regularly toothed to crenate, lower surface green and either glabrous or sparsely hairy; flowers bisexual, inflorescences 3–many-flowered
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5Secondary 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-floweredDoryphora
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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