Garden Home*Research Home*Site Map*Search*


by Denis M. Kearns, Paul E. Berry, Peter F. Stevens,
Nidia L. Cuello A., John J. Pipoly III, Norman K. B. Robson,
Bruce K. Holst, Klaus Kubitzki, and Anna L. Weitzman

Trees or shrubs (some epiphytic), lianas, perennial or annual herbs, nearly always evergreen, usually with white, yellow, or other brightly colored latex. Leaves opposite, whorled, or alternate, simple, entire; stipules absent, but small gland-like structures sometimes present at base of petiole. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, cymose, or flowers solitary. Flowers bisexual or unisexual (plants either hermaphroditic, dioecious, or polygamous), actinomorphic, most often white, yellow, or pink; bracteoles nearly always present. Sepals 2-14, free or less often fused; petals (2)3-6(-14), free, decussate, imbricate, or convolute, rarely lacking. Stamens usually numerous, often grouped in 2-5 bundles opposite the petals, some stamens or fascicles often replaced by staminodia, or stamens free and numerous (sometimes reduced to 3 or 5); anthers dehiscent by longitudinal or transverse slits or a variety of pore types (Clusia). Ovary compound, superior, of (1-)3-5(-20+) united carpels; locules as many as carpels or ovary unilocular; placentation axile, less often parietal, basal, or apical; styles 1 or as many as the carpels; stigmas expanded, smooth and sticky (rarely hairy), or punctate and papillate, or minutely porate. Fruit usually a capsule, sometimes a berry or drupe; seeds (1)2-many per carpel, arillate or not.

Worldwide in moist tropical regions and the north temperate zone; ca. 36 genera and 1600 species, 16 genera and 143 species in the flora area.

A number of Clusiaceae are of some economic importance. The fruits of Garcinia and Platonia have edible mesocarps. The resinous latex of Moronobea, Platonia, and Symphonia is used by local inhabitants and Amerindians to caulk canoes, attach arrowheads, make masks, and burn in torches for light.

Key to the Genera of Clusiaceae

by Peter F. Stevens and Paul E. Berry

1. Leaves alternate; fruit a capsule ..... 2

1. Leaves opposite; fruit a berry, drupe, or capsule ..... 4

2(1). Leaves sessile, clustered near branch apices, secondary veins closely parallel, tertiary veins not evident ..... 12. Neotatea

2. Leaves petiolate, more dispersed along the stem, secondary veins not closely parallel, tertiary veins well developed and ( perpendicular to the secondary veins ..... 3

3(2). Pubescence usually of (minute) stellate hairs; flowers yellow or whitish; capsules usually about as long as wide, occasionally to 2 or 3 times longer than wide; seeds large, 1-3 per fruit ..... 2. Caraipa

3. Pubescence of simple hairs; flowers pink to purple; capsules elongate; seeds small, numerous ..... 9. Mahurea

4(1). Styles usually longer than the ovary; filaments much more slender than the anthers; stigma papillate or smooth; plants usually hermaphroditic (rarely dioecious) ..... 5

4. Styles usually shorter than the ovary; filaments at least 1/2 the width of the anthers; stigma not papillate (either minute and porose or much expanded); plants often dioecious ..... 8

5(4). Leaves with secondary veins closely parallel, tertiary veins poorly developed; ovary 1-locular, fruit a 1-seeded drupe ..... 1. Calophyllum

5. Leaves with tertiary veins evident; ovary multilocular, fruit a many-seeded capsule or berry ..... 6

6(5). Shrubs or trees with brightly colored latex drying reddish on exposure and stellate pubescence on leaves and stems; petals densely pubescent on the inner surface; fruit a berry ..... 16. Vismia

6. Herbs to trees, latex either not obvious or not drying reddish on exposure; trichomes, if present, not stellate; petals glabrous; fruit a capsule ..... 7

7(6). Herbs or subshrubs; leaves less than 1 cm across (in the flora area), tertiary venation obscure; inflorescence cymose ..... 7. Hypericum

7. Trees; leaves > 5 cm wide, tertiary venation ladder-like; inflorescence racemose ..... 10. Marila

8(4). Leaf blades with glands and latex canals; abaxial surface of bracteoles and often sepals with a gland; fruit a berry with numerous, small, nonarillate seeds ..... 5. Clusiella

8. Leaf blades rarely with both glands and latex canals; bracteoles and sepals lacking surface glands; fruit capsular, or if a berry, seeds few, large, and usually arillate ..... 9

9(8). Terminal bud with scales (or at least their scars evident on the stem); flowers bisexual, anthers > 2 mm long; stigmas minute, porose ..... 10

9. Terminal bud usually without scales; flowers usually unisexual; anthers usually less than 2 mm long; stigmas much expanded ..... 13

10(9). Flowers in 3-9-flowered axillary cymes; filaments all basally connate into a tube, then dividing into 5 lobes of 3 stamens each; seeds with "hairy" testa ..... 14. Symphonia

10. Flowers solitary in leaf axils; filaments not all basally connate, the individual fascicles with > 3 stamens each; seeds lacking "hairy" testa ..... 11

11(10). Petals linear; fruit stipitate, elongate, indehiscent or dehiscing by twisting of the valves ..... 8. Lorostemon

11. Petals broad; fruit not stipitate, a subglobose to ovoid, leathery berry ..... 12

12(11). Stamens spiraled or less often straight, less than 13 per fascicle; ovary and fruit often with spiral markings, fruits usually with a single seed ..... 11. Moronobea

12. Stamens not spiraled, > 15 per fascicle; ovary and fruit smooth, without spiral markings; fruits usually with 5 seeds ..... 13. Platonia

13(9). Flowers in axillary fascicles; fruit a smooth to verrucose, 1- or few-seeded berry; seed(s) surrounded by pulp, but lacking an aril ..... 6. Garcinia

13. Flowers in terminal or axillary cymose panicles or sometimes solitary, but not in axillary fascicles; fruit a fleshy capsule; seeds arillate ..... 14

14(13). Petiole base often strongly excavated, the adaxial margins often strongly raised; axillary vegetative branches with a distinctively long basal internode; styles often distinct; sepals 2-4 ..... 15. Tovomita

14. Petiole base only slightly or not excavated, the adaxial margins usually not raised; axillary vegetative branches lacking long basal internode; styles lacking, or, if present, then sepals > 4 ..... 15

15(14). Ovule 1 per locule; aril vascularized (obviously cellular), reddish orange or white; stamens free; trees ..... 3. Chrysochlamys

15. Ovule (1)4-many per locule; aril not vascularized (not obviously cellular), red or orange; stamens free to connate; trees, epiphytes, or lianas ..... 4. Clusia

back to the Table of Contents next page