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Trees or rarely shrubs. Leaves simple, spirally arranged, crowded at the end of the branchlets, penninerved, glabrous, membranaceous to coriaceous, base slightly decurrent or decurrent petioles narrowly winged, margin crenulate to denticulate or sub-entire to entire, without pellucid dots, caducous. Inflorescences terminal, racemes, spikes or sometimes flowers solitary. Flowers 5-merous, tribracteate, bracts and bracteoles subpersistent; Sepals 4, connate at the base into a turbinate or campanulate tube with a gibbose margin in between the lobes; Petals 4, free, veined, attached at the base to the staminal tube, imbricate. Stamens numerous, multiseriate, unequal, contortoduplicate, in whorls, the inner whorl sterile, shorter than the outer whorl, the basal part connate into a tube; Ovary turbinate, adnate to the calyx tube, inferior, 3-4-locular; Fruits fibrous, without pulp, indehiscent, obovoid to ovoid to ellipsoid or globular, 1-4-locular, crowned by the persistent calyx; Seeds one to many in each locule, ovoid, smooth or angular, without endosperm;


The genus contains 8 species distributed from the Andaman Is. throughout Malesia to NE Australia (Queensland) and the Solomon Is.


Knuth (1939) incorporated Planchonia together with Careya, Barringtonia and Chydenanthus in the tribus Barringtonieae of the Barringtoniaceae, whereas Niedenzu (1898) placed them together with Petersia in the subfamily Planchonioideae of the Lecythidaceae. The generic status of Planchonia was accepted by all subsequent authors, with exception of Kurz (1877) who originally incorporated it in Careya as a subgenus, but later reinstated it. The genus is closely related to Careya in having horizontal ovules, by the presence of a narrowly winged petiole and in general habit. The embryo consists of a terete, spirally coiled radicle (curved in P. careya) with foliaceous, plicate cotyledons. Barringtonia, Careya and Chydenanthus have an embryo without visible radicle and cotyledons. The genus differs from Barringtonia and Chydenanthus also in having horizontal ovules. Planchonia, a few species of Barringtonia formerly in Abdumajidia and Careya, have as character in common a multi-seeded fruit. The flowers are very uniform. Those of P. papuana and P. timorensis are the largest in the genus. Miers (1875) and Niedenzu (1898) described the cotyledons as being straight. It is most probable that they saw only the seeds of P. careya, as the straight cotyledons occur only in that species.


Boerl. - in Handl. Fl. Ned. Ind. 1890: 49
Backer & Bakh.f. - in Fl. Java. 1963: 352
Pinard - in Soepadmo et al., Tree Fl. Sabah & Sarawak 4. 2002: 124
Lemée - in Dict. Gen. Pl. Phan. 1934: 375
Baill. - in Hist. Pl. 1877: 371
Ridl. - in Fl. Malay Penins. 1922: 759
Miq. - in Fl. Ind. Bat. 1855: 492
King - in J. Roy. Asiat. Soc. Bengal. 1901: 141
Miers - in Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 1875: 90
R.Knuth - in Engl., Pflanzenr. 219. 1939: 52
Kuswata - in Bull. Bot. Surv. India. 1965: 162
Koord. & Valeton - in Meded. Dept. Landb. Ned.-Indië. 1900: 22
Nied. - in Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 3. 1898: 30
Kurz - in Forest Fl. Burma. 1877: 500
Benth. & Hook.f. - in Gen. Pl. 1865: 721
C.B.Clarke - in Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 2. 1879: 511
Müll.Berol. - in Walp., Ann. Bot. Syst. 4. 1857: 852