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Description: Trees, shrubs or scramblers, or subshrubs; sometimes spinescent.
Leaves simple, entire or rarely toothed, usually alternate or sometimes whorled in terminal clusters, stipules absent.
Inflorescence compound, corymbose, cymose or paniculate or flowers solitary. Flowers bisexual, ± actinomorphic, 5-merous. Sepals 5, imbricate or valvate, free or rarely fused at base. Petals 5, imbricate; often coherent over part of their length and forming a tube, or occasionally (Cheiranthera, Sollya) spreading from base. Stamens 5; filaments sometimes long and partly fused to the petals in the tubular-flowered genera, sometimes broadened (Billardiera); anthers usually free or rarely (Sollya) coherent above the stigma, dehiscing by a longitudinal slit or rarely (Cheiranthera) by apical pores. Ovary superior, sessile or stipitate, usually 1- or 2-locular, partitions sometimes incomplete or late-developing, each loculus with 1–several ovules; style single, sometimes bearing 5 glands; stigma terminal, usually rounded.
Fruit either a dry dehiscent capsule opening loculicidally (the valves sometimes also splitting septicidally) or indehiscent ± fleshy or fibrous berries; seeds several or rarely 1 in each loculus, rarely (Hymenosporum) winged, often immersed in a viscid exudate.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 9 genera, c. 250 species, mostly Australia & Malesia, also Asia to Africa. Australia: 9 genera, c. 42 species, all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Pittosporaceae, Order: Apiales)
Resin canals in various tissues are characteristic of the family; the leaves often have a characteristic smell when crushed. Pittosporum, Hymenosporum and Bursaria have sweetly scented flowers; Hymenosporum and Sollya and several taxa of Pittosporum are commonly cultivated as ornamentals.
Text by R. O. Makinson
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Fruit dry or leathery, dehiscent capsules||2|
|Fruit succulent or fibrous, indehiscent berries or berry-like||6|
|2||Anthers mostly longer than filaments, opening by apical pores; shrubs less than 1 m high; petals blue||Cheiranthera|
|Anthers shorter than the filaments, opening by longitudinal slits; trees or erect to prostrate or dwarf shrubs; petals white, cream, yellow, or rarely reddish purple|
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|3||Petals spreading from the base, not cohering along edges; ovary and capsule distinctly stipitate; spinescent shrubs or small trees||Bursaria|
|Petals cohering over lower half or near base to form a tube, the apices only spreading; ovary and capsule sessile or shortly and obscurely stipitate (capsule pseudostipitate in Hymenosporum); trees, shrubs, or subshrubs, lacking spines or rarely (P. oreillyanum) spinescent|
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|4||Fruit with thin crustaceous valves, less than 1 cm long; low procumbent or prostrate shrubs||Rhytidosporum|
|Fruit with thick leathery valves usually more than 1 cm long; trees or shrubs more than 1 m high|
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|5||Seeds winged, not viscid; petals 3–4 cm long, hairy on outer surface||Hymenosporum|
|Seeds not winged, viscid; petals less than 2 cm long, glabrous on outer surface|
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|6||Subshrubs, twiners, scramblers or climbers, branchlets not spinescent; fruit subcylindrical to ovoid, green, brown, or purplish when fresh||Billardiera|
|Shrubs, more or less erect, branchlets usually spinescent; fruit globose, orange or dull black when fresh|
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