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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. Détienne, P. & J. Jacquet. - in Atlas d’identification des bois de l’Amazonie et des régions voisines. 1983, B. Heimsch, C., Comparative anatomy of the secondary xylem in the Gruinales and Terebinthales of Wettstein with reference to taxonomic grouping in Lilloa 8. 1942, C. IAWA Committee., The IAWA list of microscopic features for hardwood identification in IAWA Bull. n.s. 10. 1989, D. Lens, F., S. Jansen, P. Caris, L. Serlet & E. Smets., Comparative wood anatomy of the primuloid clade (Ericales s.l.) in Syst. Bot. 30. 2005, E. Record, S.J. & R.W. Hess. - in Timbers of the New World. 1943, F. Record, S.J. & R.W. Hess., Identification of woods with conspicuous rays in Trop. Woods 48. 1936, G. Vliet, G.L.C.M. van, Radial vessels in rays in IAWA Bull. 3. 1976, H. in InsideWood. 2004-onwards