Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, opposite or whorled, simple, pinnatifid, pinnate or bipinnate, usually coriaceous, exstipulate. Inflorescences simple or compound, axillary or terminal, racemose or paniculate. Flowers usually actinomorphic, bisexual, solitary or paired in axils of bracts, rarely ebracteate; tepals 4 valvate, free or variously united, each with a slightly expanded limb; stamens 4, usually all fertile, opposite tepals, filaments partly or wholly adnate to tepals, rarely free; hypogynous glands usually present, 4, scale-like or fleshy, free or fused; pistil 1, ovary superior, rarely perigynous, sessile or stipitate, 1-locular, ovules 1-many, variously inserted, style simple often persistent, often with apex expanded as a pollen presenter, stigma small, terminal or subterminal. Fruits dehiscent or indehiscent, woody or coriaceous follicles, drupes or achenes; seeds 1-many, usually endospermic.
Africa: Americas: present Andes: present Argentina: present Asia-Temperate: Asia-Tropical:, India ‒ present Australasia: Chile: present Guianas: present Madagascar: present New Caledonia: present New Zealand: present Northern America: Pacific:, Fiji (Fiji ‒ present) eastern Brazil: present southern hemisphere: present tropical Africa: present
A largely southern hemisphere family consisting of 79 genera and ca. 1700 species with Australia and southern Africa as its centers of greatest diversity; 8 genera and 84 species occur in the Americas from Mexico to Chile and Argentina, with the greatest diversity in the Andes and eastern Brazil, some American species also occur in tropical Africa, Madagascar, India, eastern Asia, Malesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Fiji; 3 genera and 9 species are known to occur in the Guianas.
The S AmericanA. Détienne, P. & J. Jacquet. - in Atlas d’identification des bois de l’Amazonie et des régions voisines. 1983, B. Edwards, K.S. & G.T. Prance., Four new species of Roupala (Proteaceae) in Brittonia. 55. 2003, C. Heimsch, C., Comparative anatomy of the secondary xylem in the Gruinales and Terebinthales of Wettstein with reference to taxonomic grouping in Lilloa 8. 1942, D. IAWA Committee., The IAWA list of microscopic features for hardwood identification in IAWA Bull. n.s. 10. 1989, E. Lens, F., S. Jansen, P. Caris, L. Serlet & E. Smets., Comparative wood anatomy of the primuloid clade (Ericales s.l.) in Syst. Bot. 30. 2005, F. Mennega, A.M.W., Wood anatomy of the genus Euplassa and its relation to other Proteaceae of the Guianas and Brazil in Acta Bot. Neerl. 15. 1966, G. Prance, G.T. & V. Plana., The American Proteaceae in Austral. Syst. Bot. 11. 1998, H. Record, S.J. & R.W. Hess. - in Timbers of the New World. 1943, I. Record, S.J. & R.W. Hess., Identification of woods with conspicuous rays in Trop. Woods 48. 1936, J. Vliet, G.L.C.M. van, Radial vessels in rays in IAWA Bull. 3. 1976, K. in InsideWood. 2004-onwards
PROTEACEAE comprise small shrubs and trees belonging to about 60 genera within the tribe Macadamieae, of which only 3 genera, Euplassa Salisb. ex Knight, Panopsis Salisb. ex Knight and Roupala Aubl., are found in the Guianas. These 3 genera, each with over 20 species, occur predominantly in the highlands with their centres of species diversity occurring in the Andes and Guayana Highlands. Therefore it has been suggested that Roupala and Panopsis are today not true rainforest species and only occupy refugia in the lowlands as their preference lies in the more seasonal environments offered by higher altitudes (Prance & Plana 1998). Euplassa is a S American genus of trees, rarely shrubs, with 2 species occurring in the Guianas. Two species of Panopsis are native to the Guianas whereas Roupala comprises the largest genus of the tropical American PROTEACEAE with about 32 species (Edwards & Prance 2003) of which only 5 species occur in the Guianas. According to Mennega (1966) the wood of Euplassa and Panopsis are very similar whereas Roupala is more distinct. All 3 genera share the characteristic feature of wide rays that can extend several millimetres and are conspicuous in all three planes of section (Mennega 1966).