Description: Trees, shrubs or woody climbers; most hemiparasitic on roots of other plants.
Leaves alternate, simple, entire, often leathery; stipules absent.
Inflorescence axillary, umbels, racemes or clusters or flowers solitary. Flowers actinomorphic, bisexual or rarely unisexual and then plants dioecious, 3–6-merous. Calyx ± cupular; often inconspicuously 3–6-toothed, persistent and often enlarging in fruit. Petals 3–6, free or united. Disc usually present. Stamens as many as the petals or rarely 2–5 times as many, free, opposite the petals and sometimes fused at their base; staminodes sometimes present; anthers 2-locular, usually opening by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, sometimes slightly immersed in the disc, 2–5-locular at the base but often 1-locular above; ovules 1 in each loculus or part loculus; style simple; stigma 2–5-lobed.
Fruit a drupe [or a nut], usually with fleshy, often red outer layer, 1-seeded.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 25 genera, 250 species, widespread in tropical & subtropical regions. Australia: 3 genera, 13 species, all mainland States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: "Olacaceae", Order: "Olacaceae")
Text by C. L. Gardner