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Chrysobalanaceae R.Br.

Narr.Exped.Zaire 433 (1818)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Common name. Cocoa-plum Family.

Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs; leptocaul. Leaves alternate; spiral; petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Leaf blades entire; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves with stipules. Vegetative anatomy. Plants with silica bodies, or without silica bodies. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite, or hermaphrodite and functionally male, or hermaphrodite and functionally female. Unisexual flowers present, or absent. Plants hermaphrodite, or andromonoecious, or gynomonoecious.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. The terminal inflorescence unit racemose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary; simple or compound racemes. Flowers small; very irregular. The floral asymmetry involving the perianth and involving the androecium. Flowers cyclic, or partially acyclic. The androecium acyclic. Free hypanthium present (tubular). Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla, or sepaline (rarely, the corolla absent); (5–)6–10; 1 -whorled (rarely), or 2 -whorled; isomerous, or anisomerous. Calyx 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; imbricate; unequal but not bilabiate (sometimes saccate at the base); with the median member posterior. Corolla when present, 1–5; 1 -whorled; polypetalous (inserted at the mouth of the hypanthium tube); imbricate; more or less unequal but not bilabiate. Petals shortly clawed. Fertile stamens present, or absent (when flower female). Androecium (2–)8–20(–300). Androecial members branched (from trunk bundles?), or unbranched; free of the perianth (but inserted with the corolla at the mouth of the hypanthium); often markedly unequal (those on the side opposite the larger calyx segments often larger); free of one another, or coherent; when coherent 1 - adelphous, or 3–20 - adelphous (? — connate, or joined into groups). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens, or including staminodes. Stamens (2–)8–30(–300); isomerous with the perianth to polystemonous. Anthers dorsifixed (below the midline); versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (male flowers). Gynoecium 1–3 carpelled (basically three, but two usually more or less suppressed and the simulated G1 asymmetrically positioned in the hypanthium). The pistil 1(–3) celled, or 2–6 celled. Gynoecium monomerous (at least ostensibly), or syncarpous; of one carpel (ostensibly), or synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; when monomerous, superior. Carpel with a gynobasic style; 2 ovuled (but the one locule is occasionally subdivided, to look like two one-ovulate locules). Placentation basal. Ovary unilocular, or plurilocular; when detectably syncarpous, 1(–3) locular. Locules secondarily divided by ‘false septa’, or without ‘false septa’. Gynoecium stylate. Styles ‘gynobasic’. Stigmas 1 - lobed, or 3 - lobed. Ovules ascending; collateral, or over the carpel surface.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy. The fruiting carpel indehiscent; drupaceous (with bony endocarp). Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds non-endospermic. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2 (commonly thickened). Seedling. Germination cryptocotylar.

Geography, cytology, number of species. World distribution: widespread-tropical. X = 10, 11. 400 species.