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Genus Celastrus Family Celastraceae

Description: Climbing shrubs, usually dioecious; branches usually conspicuously lenticellate.

Leaves alternate, mostly toothed; stipules small, caducous.

Flowers unisexual, in terminal or axillary racemes or panicles. Sepals and petals 5. Stamens 5, inserted on or immediately under margin of disc. Female flowers with staminodes. Ovary ± free from disc, 3-locular; ovules usually 2 per loculus; stigma ± 3-lobed.

Capsule ± subglobose, 3-valved, topped by a persistent style; seeds 1–6, enveloped in a coloured fleshy aril.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 32 species, tropical & subtropical regions. Australia: 2 species (endemic), Qld, N.S.W., Vic.

Text by T. A. James
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Scales near base of youngest branchlets narrow-triangular to subulate, more or less entire; mature fruit 5–9.5 mm long, inner surface of valves with very few or no red spots; leaves mostly 5–14 cm long, 2–7 cm wideCelastrus subspicatus
Scales near base of youngest branchlets broad-ovate, oblong-ovate or triangular, erose; mature fruit 3–6.5 mm long, inner surface of valves with scattered red spots; leaves 3–9 cm long, 1–4 cm wideCelastrus australis

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