Description: Tree, dioecious; branches with internodes hollow.
Leaves in spirals; stipules large, connate, amplexicaul, leaving circular scar when fallen off; petiole usually with one or two patches of dense indumentum of various hairs (trichilla) at base; lamina usually simple, peltate, radially veined and divided.
Inflorescence axillary, pedunculate finger-like clusters of spikes. Flowers unisexual, usually sessile; tepals 2 (rarely 3), tubular; stamens 2, rarely 3, free; ovary free; style absent; stigma penicillate or peltate.
Fruit a small achene, often tuberculate, fully enclosed by fleshy tepals; seed with endosperm; embryo small.
Distribution and occurrence: Naturally occurring Central America to northern South America. Some species known to be invasive in tropical and subtropical regions outside their natural distribution.
Text by B.J. Conn (2011)
Taxon concept: Berg & Franco-Roselli (2005)
|One species in NSW: Cecropia peltata|