Lecythidoideae

Description

Large trees. Leaves alternate, exstipulate or with minute stipules, pinnately nerved, brochidodromous, the margins usually entire. Inflorescences terminal or axillary panicles or racemes or cauliflorous and ramiflorous racemes. Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, calyx-tube campanulate, not winged. Sepals 2-6; Stamens arising from a connate staminal ring, the ring slightly expanded to one side or markedly expanded into a strap-like ligule with an enlarged hood at the apex, the hood appendages with or without anthers. Ovary 2-, 4-, or 6-locular, inferior or semi-inferior, with 2-many anatropous ovules in each loculus, the axile placentae at the apex, base or throughout the length of the locule. Fruits indehiscent fleshy and indehiscent or woody and indehiscent in Couroupita, dehiscent via circumscissile operculum, large and woody with a small operculum falling inwards in Bertholletia.

Distribution

Ten genera endemic to the Neotropics and a few of the 235 species are cultivated elsewhere.

Synonymy

Lecythidoideae in Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 7: 34. 1892