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Trees or shrubs, dioecious. Leaves alternate and distichous; stipules lateral, free; blade entire or pinnately incised, pinnately veined. Inflorescences in the leaf axils or on leafless branchlets or spurs on the older wood, pedunculate, bracteate. Staminate inflorescences spicate; flowers indistinct; tepals (2-)3-5(-7), free or connate; stamens 1-3; pistillode absent. Pistillate inflorescences capitate or uniflorous; perianth tubular, 4-lobed; ovary adnate to the perianth or almost free; stigmas 2, filiform or tongue-shaped. Fruiting perianth enlarged, fleshy, red or orange; fruit adnate to the perianth; seed large, without endosperm, cotyledons thick and equal.


Guianas present, Neotropics present
Neotropics, 3 species. In the Guianas 2 species.

Wood observation species

C. ilicifolia, C. racemosa


Vessels diffuse, solitary (29-50%) and in short multiples and irregular clusters of 2-5, round to slightly oval, in C. racemosa 4-5 per sq. mm, in C. ilicifolia 7-13 per sq. mm, in C. racemosa diameter 145-200 μm and in C. ilicifolia 70-105 μm. Vessel-member length: in C. racemosa 350-400 μm and in C. ilicifolia 310-320 μm. Perforations simple. Intervascular pits alternate, round and polygonal, 6-10 μm. Vessel-ray and vessel- parenchyma pits larger, elongated and irregularly shaped, half-bordered, the borders sometimes reduced. Thin-walled tyloses common. White deposits frequent, orange deposits occasional present.
Rays uniseriate and 3-5-seriate, 4-7 per mm, up to 600-1560 μm high.
Heterogeneous to occasionally almost homogeneous, composed of procumbent cells, except for the uniseriate margins of 1-2 cells of square and/or upright cells. Sheath cells present, but scarce. Rhombic crystals present, more common in C. ilicifolia than in C. racemosa. Radial latex tubes observed in some samples of C. ilicifolia.
Parenchyma vasicentric-aliform with short, and occasionally long wings, but predominantly banded, varying from commonly wavy bands to sometimes concentric bands, 2-6(8) cells wide and 1-3 (4) per mm. Terminal bands occasionally present. Strands of 2-4 cells. Sporadically rhombic crystals do occur.
Fibers non-septate, lumen 6-20 μm, walls 2-4 μm. Pits simple, small, restricted to the radial walls. Gelatinous fibres often present. Length: 960-1315 μm. F/V ratio: 3.8-4.2 in C. ilicifolia and 3.2-3.3 in C. racemosa.
Vitreous silica common in the vessels, but generally scarce.