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Published In: Elem. Philos. Pl. 140. 1821. (Jul 1821) (Elem. Philos. Pl.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/22/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted

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STYRACACEAE (Styrax Family)

Plants shrubs or small trees, usually pubescent with minute, stellate hairs, the wood often resinous, the bark, twigs, and winter buds various. Leaves alternate, short- to moderately petiolate, the fall foliage turning yellow. Stipules absent. Leaf blades simple, narrowly to broadly elliptic, oblong-elliptic, ovate, or oblong-obovate, tapered to a sharply pointed tip, angled or rounded at the base, the margins entire or finely toothed, the surfaces usually stellate-hairy when young, often becoming glabrous or nearly so at maturity. Inflorescences axillary (sometimes appearing terminal on short branches in Styrax), of solitary flowers or small clusters or racemes of 2–6 flowers. Flowers perfect, actinomorphic, perigynous to epigynous (hypogynous elsewhere), relatively long-stalked, not subtended by bractlets. Calyces 4- or 5-lobed, obconic to narrowly obconic, the lobes mostly small, triangular, toothlike, glabrous or sparsely stellate-hairy, persistent but often inconspicuous at fruiting. Corollas deeply 4- or 5-lobed, bell-shaped or more or less saucer-shaped, white, the lobes rounded to truncate and sometimes slightly irregular, the outer surface moderately to densely stellate-hairy. Stamens 8 or 10, the filaments usually attached in 1 row at the base of the corolla tube, sometimes fused into a minute crown basally, glabrous, the anthers attached at their bases, linear, dehiscing longitudinally. Pistil 1 per flower, of 2–4 fused carpels. Ovary partially to entirely inferior (superior elsewhere), with 2–4, often incomplete locules, the placentation axile. Style 1, unbranched, the stigmas minute or capitate, entire or shallowly 3- or 4-lobed. Ovules 4–6 per locule. Fruits various, mostly modified capsules (often indehiscent or irregularly and tardily dehiscent), drupelike or samaralike in Missouri genera, variously shaped, the surface glabrous or sparsely stellate-hairy. Seeds 1–3(4) per fruit, at most 1 per locule, narrowly ellipsoid or oblong-ellipsoid, the surface sometimes shiny, sometimes longitudinally several-grooved, brown. Eleven genera, about 160 species, North America to South America, Caribbean Islands, Europe, Asia south to Indonesia.

The family Styracaceae has an extensive fossil history and some of the genera were once more widespread than they are in the present day (Manchester et al., 2009). Today, the majority of the species are in the widely distributed genus Styrax. The main economic use of the family is for horticulture; several genera include commonly cultivated species (Spongberg, 1976). A few of the larger tropical species furnish wood for handcrafts. Some of the species also have medicinal uses.

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