RutaceaeRue family

  -Small to large trees;
  -leaves alternate (rarely opposite);
  -leaves palmate, even pinnate, or odd pinnate (rarely simple or trifoliolate);
  -leaflets opposite with translucent yellow dots;
  -without stipules
  -aromatic odor of citrus;
  -small white flowers in branched inflorescences;
  -fruits a follicle or drupe.

Diagnosis: Trees and treelets, without stipules, always with aromatic citrus odor and translucent yellow dots (oil glands) in leaf blade or at least on margine, vegetatively diverse. 1. Alternate, simple, usually with apical pulvinus. 2. Alternate, pinnately or palmately compound, some with spines. 3. Opposite, and either simple or compound with 3 leaflets.

Local distribution: Widespread in all habitats.

Similar families
Anacardiaceae: mango odor, white latex, no yellow dots.
Burseraceae: turpentine odor, white or semi-clear latex.
Fabaceae: green bean odor, spines, stipules.
Meliaceae: no stipules, sweet odor.
Sapindaceae: leaflets often alternate and serrate, appendage or scar at rachis tip.
Simaroubaceae: bitter odor and taste, no stipules, leaflets mostly alternate.

Diversity: Total: 9 genera, 16 species. Trees: 9 genera, 16 species.

Credits: Images and text copyright 2000-2007, William A. Haber,