Genera : 140 - 150
Species: 1,500 - 2,000
Links to genus directories:
Distribution: Pantropical, with a few in the temperate regions.
Economic Uses: As ornamentals and as the source of edible berries. Some species produce a lathery soap substitute when immersed and agitated in water. Others are caffeine rich used to make a strong beverage in Brazil, called yoco.
Defining Features of Interest: Many of the species are lianas.
Fossil Evidence: Fossil pollen in the Upper Cretaceous.