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Trees, shrubs, lianas. Leaves simple, alternate, entire, pinnately veined; small stipules present but usually caducous. Inflorescences axillary or more frequently attached to petiole or rarely to midrib, corymbose-cymose or subcapitate, or flowers fasciculate. Flowers small, hermaphrodite or less frequently unisexual, actinormorphic to weakly zygomorphic; pedicels often articulated; petals 5, either free, imbricate and almost equal or connate into a tube, lobes equal or markedly unequal, lobes usually bifid at apex and frequently bicucullate or inflexed, often clawed at base; stamens 5, all fertile or only 3 fertile, free or adnate to corolla tube, with filaments or rarely sessile anthers, anthers 2-locular, dehiscing longitudinally; disk of 5 equal or unequal hypogynous glands alternating with stamens or united into a disk; ovary superior, free, 2-3-locular, ovules anatropous, pendulous, paired at top of each locule, styles 2-3, free or more frequently connate nearly to apex, often recurved, stigma capitate or simple. Fruits dry or rarely fleshy drupes, epicarp most frequently pubescent, mesocarp thin, endocarp hard, 1-2(-3)-locular, locules usually with only 1 seed developing; seed pendulous, without endosperm, embryo large, erect.


Africa present, Asia-Tropical: India present, Guianas present, Micronesia present, Polynesia present, Southern America: Colombia (Colombia present); Peru (Peru present); Venezuela (Venezuela present), eastern central Brazil present, throughout the lowland tropical regions of both hemispheres present
A tropical family of about 240 species in 3 genera, distributed throughout the lowland tropical regions of both hemispheres (but absent from Polynesia and Micronesia), extending into the subtropics in Africa and India; 2 genera and 7 species have been recorded from the Guianas (the third genus, Stephanopodium Poepp., does not occur in the Guianas, but in Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and eastern central Brazil).


The DICHAPETALACEAE are a family comprising 6 genera of small trees, shrubs or lianes found in lowland tropical regions around the world. In the Guianas 2 genera are represented, namely Dichapetalum and Tapura. The third genus, Stephanopodium Poepp. although found in tropical South America does not occur in the Guianas. Dichapetalum is represented by 3 species: the liana D. pedunculatum (DC.) Baill, D. rugosum (Vahl) Prance, which has either a liana or shrub habit, and the shrub D. schulzii Prance (Prance 1972). The wood of Dichapetalum has a coarse texture and is of no commercial value (Record & Hess 1943). Tapura is represented by 4 arboreal species, namely T. amazonica Poepp., T. capitulifera Baill. and T. guianensis Aubl., which can also be shrubby, and T. singularis Ducke. Although the wood of Tapura is relatively fine-textured with a straight grain, easy to cut and finishes smoothly it too is of no economic importance (Record & Hess 1943).
Terms are used in accordance with the defined descriptions according to the IAWA list of microscopic features for hardwood identification (IAWA Committee 1989).
A. -empty team- – In: InsideWood, B. Détienne, P. & J. Jacquet. 1983 – In: Atlas d’identification des bois de l’Amazonie et des régions voisines, C. Heimsch, C. 1942: Comparative anatomy of the secondary xylem in the Gruinales and Terebinthales of Wettstein with reference to taxonomic grouping. – Lilloa 8, D. IAWA Committee. 1989: The IAWA list of microscopic features for hardwood identification. – IAWA Bull. n.s. 10, E. Lens, F., S. Jansen, P. Caris, L. Serlet & E. Smets. 2005: Comparative wood anatomy of the primuloid clade (Ericales s.l.). – Syst. Bot. 30, F. Record, S.J. & R.W. Hess. 1936: Identification of woods with conspicuous rays. – Trop. Woods 48, G. Record, S.J. & R.W. Hess. 1943 – In: Timbers of the New World, H. Vliet, G.L.C.M. van 1976: Radial vessels in rays. – IAWA Bull. 3