A family of shrubs, trees, and climbers, whose members have alternate, simple leaves without stipules and with a rough texture. The flowers are green or white, and regular, with the calyx reduced to narrow lobes. The petals lie closely together, but do not overlap, and are of the same number as the calyx lobes, usually 4–6. There may be up to twice as many stamens. The ovary is half inferior, with 1–3 uniovular locules. There is a single style with a lobed stigma. The fruit is a single-seeded nut or drupe. The seed contains a copious endosperm. The family includes several timber trees, and some with edible fruits. (Heisteria species yield a hard timber, used in building, and Coula edulis yields edible seeds (Gaboon nuts) as well as timber (African walnut) used in building.) The family consists of 29 genera, with about 200 species, found throughout the tropics, but with the largest number of species in Africa and Asia.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.