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Shrub or small tree, up to 7-15 m tall, sometimes multistemmed, occasionally spreading with vine-like branches, rarely branched at base. Leaf scars prominent. Stipules inconspicuous (caducous) or absent; petiole usually short (nearly subsessile), slightly winged, 0.4-1.3 cm long; blade subcoriaceous to coriaceous, oblanceolate to elliptic, occasionally linear, 2-11(-12) (including petiole) x 0.4-2.5(-3) cm, margin usually slightly reflexed, apex acute to rounded, sometimes emarginated (rarely apiculate), base narrowly cuneate to attenuate; midvein generally depressed above, prominent beneath, densely reticulate, slightly prominent or obscure above, secondary veins straight to slightly arcuate, divergent, irregularly anastomosing. Inflorescence racemose, axillary, usually near end of branches, glabrous; peduncle 0.4-1.7 cm long (before the first bract); rachis up to 14 cm long, usually somewhat ridged; often numerous flowers, erect or pendulous; bract lanceolate-subulate, 0.8-2.4(-3.5) mm long, acuminate to very acute, basally thickened and usually costate, persistent; bracteoles 2, usually above middle of pedicel, alternate or opposite, lanceolate, 1-1.5(-1.6) mm long, persistent; pedicels ascending or slightly patent, alternate or subopposite, 1.1-2 mm long (up to 4 mm when fruiting), usually pink. Flowers actinomorphic; sepals free, or basally connate, 5, pink, coriaceous, usually with basal thickening, lanceolate-ovate to deltoid, 0.6-1.5(-1.6) x up to 0.7(-1) mm, apex acute to acuminate, glabrous, persistent; petals imbricate or slightly contorted, free or shortly fused, 5, white, usually more membranaceous along margin, oblong to oblong-lanceolate or oblong-elliptic, 2(-2.4) x up to 1.1 mm, margins sometimes inrolled (giving the appearance of long acuminate), apex acute, obtuse or rounded, glabrous to rarely glandular on lower inner surface; stamens 5, about 2/3 as long as petals (always shorter), filaments flattened, 1.1-1.4 mm long, anthers terete, linear-subulate, up to 0.4 mm broad, very occasionally with mucronate tip, versatile, dehiscing longitudinally, pink or purple; nectary disc sometimes present; ovary 2-3(rarely-4)-locular, oblong to slightly ovate, wrinkled when dried, glabrous, up to 1.6(-2) mm long, ovules usually 2, pendulous from apex of locule, style 1, short, stout, stigma entire, or 2-3-lobed, corresponding to number of locules. Fruit dry, indehiscent, green immature, red (pink) at maturity, subglobose to globose or conic-ellipsoid, 2.5-(3) x up to (0.9-)2(-3) mm, usually smooth (rarely slightly rugulose), glabrous, stigma usually persistent; seeds 1 per locule, elongate.


C America present, Northern America, Southern America, northeast Brazil present, southern and eastern U.S.A present
1 species from southern and eastern U.S.A, through Mexico, the West Indies, C America down to northeast Brazil.


Growth rings indistinct or absent.
Vessels diffuse, solitary, paired, rarely groups in of 3, 68-114 (92) per mm², circular but predominantly angular, 29-73 (52) μm wide. Perforation plates scalariform with many (20-40, rarely more) fine closely spaced bars. Intervessel pits and vessel-ray pits opposite, elongated and scalariform with distinct borders.
Rays uniseriate and multiseriate (3-6 cells), 10-14 per mm. Uniseriate rays composed of upright cells. Multiseriate rays heterogeneous composed predominantly of procumbent and square body ray cells and 1-3 rows of (square to) upright marginal cells. Multiseriate rays 23-83 (43) μm wide and 225-1475 (695) μm in height. Prismatic crystals abundant in the ray cells.
Axial parenchyma scanty and diffuse; 3-8 cells per strand.
Ground tissue of non-septate fibres with thin-to-thick walls, and bordered pits on both the radial and tangential walls.


Growth ring boundaries can be distinct and the wood can also be semi-ring-porous according to the InsideWood database (2004-onwards) and Araujo & Mattos Filho (1974). Gummy deposits common in vessels according to Araujo & Mattos Filho (1974). Various types of pit membrane remnants associated with the perforation plates have been observed in C. racemiflora by Schneider & Carlquist (2003).