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Family pittosporaceae

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 or unisexual, ± 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.

External links:
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
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Fruit dry or leathery, dehiscent capsules2
Fruit succulent or fibrous, indehiscent berries or berry-like6
2Anthers mostly longer than filaments, opening by apical pores; shrubs less than 1 m high; petals blueCheiranthera
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
                       Back to 1
3Petals spreading from the base, not cohering along edges; ovary and capsule distinctly stipitate; spinescent shrubs or small treesBursaria
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
                       Back to 2
4Fruit with thin crustaceous valves, less than 1 cm long; low procumbent or prostrate shrubsRhytidosporum
Fruit with thick leathery valves usually more than 1 cm long; trees or shrubs more than 1 m high
                       Back to 3
5Seeds winged, not viscid; petals 3–4 cm long, hairy on outer surfaceHymenosporum
Seeds not winged, viscid; petals less than 2 cm long, glabrous on outer surface
                       Back to 4
6Subshrubs, twiners, scramblers or climbers, branchlets not spinescent; fruit subcylindrical to ovoid, green, brown, or purplish when freshBillardiera
Shrubs, more or less erect, branchlets usually spinescent; fruit globose, orange or dull black when fresh
                       Back to 1

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