Genera : 60


Species: 800-1200


Distribution: Pantropic, but concentrated in South America

Economic Uses: Locally cultivated for edible fruits, ornamentals and as a key ingredient in hallucinogenic mixtures developed by indigenous groups of the western Amazon.

Defining Features of Interest: Leaves often subtended by unique 'malpighian hairs' which are unicellular and two -branched.

Fossil Evidence: No known fossil record.

Defining Morphology

Floral Features : Actinomorphic or zygomorphic and perfect (rarley unisexual). Often large and showy. Inflorescence as axillary or terminal cymes, panicles or racemes.Hypogygous.

Fruit and Seed Features : Fruit a drupe, nut or schizocarp w/ winged mericarps. Seeds lacking endosperm. Placentation is axile.

Vegetative Features : Habit as shrubs, trees or lianas. Leaves simple and entire, opposite (rarely alternate). Stipules can be present and absent.

Links to Genus Directory of Images: