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Genus Fontainea Family Euphorbiaceae

Description: Shrubs or small trees, usually dioecious, mostly glabrous, buds finely hairy.

Leaves alternate, [simple or] 1-foliolate; lamina entire, translucent dots visible with a lens; depressed surface glands present on lower surface of lamina, usually 2 towards base of lamina; petiole usually with a distinct swelling at apex; stipules minute or absent.

Inflorescence a short raceme, terminal and/or axillary. Flowers small, <8 mm diam. Calyx shallowly 4–6-lobed, cup-like, hairy without, splitting when flowers open. Petals 4–6, free, hairy on both surfaces. Disc annular, fleshy. Stamens mostly 18–24, filaments outwardly curved, basally united. Ovary mostly hairy, 3-locular [2–5-locular in other species], 1 ovule in each loculus; styles basally united, stigmas as many as loculi, deeply 2-lobed.

Fruit drupaceous, ± fleshy, endocarp bony and with 2 or 3 (rarely more) longitudinal ridges; 1-locular and 1-seeded owing to development of 1 ovule, the others being crushed against inner wall of endocarp.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 10 species, Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu. Australia: 6 species (5 species endemic), Qld, N.S.W.

Text by T. A. James & G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves with glands 5–22 mm above base of lamina; female floral axes 15–22 mm long; male floral axes 7–12 mm long; endocarp smooth, not groovedFontainea australis
Leaves with glands 0.5–4 mm above base of lamina; female floral axes 8–10 mm long; male floral axes 5–6 mm long; endocarp wrinkled and groovedFontainea oraria

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