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Published In: A Voyage to Terra Australis 2: 554. 1814. (19 Jul 1814) (Voy. Terra Austral.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 8/10/2009)


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CELASTRACEAE (Staff-Tree Family)

(Brizicky, 1964b)

Contributed by David J. Bogler

Plants trees, shrubs, or lianas, glabrous or nearly so, sometimes incompletely or completely dioecious, occasionally with milky sap. Leaves alternate or opposite, simple, pinnately veined, the margins entire or bluntly toothed, sometimes partially or fully evergreen. Stipules absent or small, scalelike, and shed early. Inflorescences axillary or terminal clusters (sometimes appearing as short racemes or small panicles in Celastrus). Flowers perfect or imperfect, actinomorphic, hypogynous or perigynous, small, the stalks jointed. Sepals 4 or 5, small, usually fused toward the base. Petals 4 or 5, separate. Stamens 4 or 5, opposite the sepals, the filaments short, usually distinct, the short, broad anthers attached at or near the base. A nectar disk is present between the stamens and ovary, usually conspicuous, the petals and stamens sometimes appearing attached to the disk. Pistil of 2–5 fused carpels, the ovary superior or appearing partially inferior (the basal portion sometimes appearing sunken into the disk), 1–5-locular, the ovules 2 to several per locule, the placentation axile. Style 1, the stigma capitate or 3-lobed. Fruits capsules (drupes or berries elsewhere), sometimes strongly lobed, dehiscent longitudinally by 3–5 valves. Seeds 3–5 (more elsewhere), covered by a brightly colored, red or orange, fleshy aril. Fifty-five to 90 genera, 850–1,300 species, nearly worldwide, but most diverse in tropical and subtropical regions.

The Celastraceae are of limited economic importance, although a number of species are cultivated as ornamentals, and some taxa are considered invasive exotics. Euonymus is used in Chinese herbal medicine. The leaves of Catha edulis (Vahl) Endl., called khat, are chewed or brewed into tea for their stimulant effect in East Africa and the Middle East.


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1 1. Leaves alternate; plants lianas with twining stems ... 1. CELASTRUS

2 1. Leaves opposite; plants shrubs or small trees, or if lianas then the stems not twining (adhering to substrate by modified roots) ... 2. EUONYMUS Euonymus
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