CelastraceaeBittersweet family






Identification
  - Thin orange layer in bark.
  - Tiny free stipules.
  - Leaves alternate, distichous, and crenate.
  - Or leaves opposite and crenate.
  - Twigs often ridged from petiole base and zig-zagged.
  - Tiny green flowers, 5-parted with large nectar disc. 5 stamens, free petals.
  - Fruits are drupes, berries, capsule with arillate seeds, or single-seeded with a wing.

Diagnosis: Trees and lianas, thin orange layer in bark, free stipules, twigs often ridged, leaves simple, margin crenate (sometimes obscurely); forming two groups- one simple, alternate, mostly distichous, the other simple, opposite (including Hippocrateaceae).

Local distribution: Widespread.

Similar families
Flacourtiaceae: tertiary veins at mid leaf perpendicular to midvein, some with nectar glands or pellucid dots, larger stipules.
Euphorbiaceae: latex or clear exudate fro petiole, some with nectar glands.
Myrtaceae: leaves entire, pellucid dots present.
Rhamnaceae: serrate with straight lateral veins.
Rhizophoraceae: sparse inconspicuous teeth, curved petioles.

Diversity: Total: 8 genera, 13 species. Trees: 7 genera, 10 species.

Comments: The orange bark layer is usually diagnostic for the family.



Credits: Images and text copyright 2000-2007, William A. Haber, http://efg.cs.umb.edu/