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Trees, generally tall and with straight, angular or ± deeply grooved bole, rarely treelets or shrubs, dioecious. Leaves spiral, almost distichous, entire, penninerved, at least initially covered with fascicled or star-shaped, early going hairs, and/or subpersistent star-shaped, flat, finally silvery scales with a distinct darker centre, as are branchlets and inflorescences; Flowers axillary, the ♂ ones in interrupted, glomerulose, mostly to panicles arranged spikes, sessile, subglobular in bud, each subtended by a small persistent bract, the ♀ ones in few-flowered short cymes, each on a distinct pedicel and subtended by a subpersistent bract immediately below the calyx lobes. Petals (4-)5, small, valvate, glabrous, inflexed at apex, shortly connate at base, absent in the ♀ flowers.


Asia-Temperate: Hainan (Hainan endemic), Asia-Tropical: Borneo present; East Himalaya (Sikkim present); Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia present); New Guinea present; Sumatera (Sumatera present), New Britain present, SE. Asia present, Solomon Is
About 5 spp., one endemic in Hainan, another extending from Sikkim into SE. Asia and Malesia; in Malesia 4 spp., of which 2 endemic in Borneo and the other 2 from the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra to New Guinea and New Britain (not known yet from the Solomon Is.). .


The wood is whitish cream, available in big dimensions due to the large size of the trees, but soft and suitable only for inside house constructions.


The distinction of species in this genus is mainly based on the type of indument, clearly recognizable only with a lens. This can only well be examined on young leaves, where the full set of in-dument characters is still present, as hairs and/or scales go rather early, and old leaves may become practically glabrous. The scales give the undersurface of the leaves a metallic silvery lustre similar to that found in leaves of certain Myristicaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Sapotaceae, and even Lauraceae, with which they are sometimes confused in sterile sheets. Young leaves may show fine, round, translucent dots against strong light ().


Hook.f. 1887 – In: IC. Pl. t. 1707
ex BENTH. 1880: p. 283. – In: Benth. & Hook.f., Gen. Pl. 3. nota
SLEUM. 1969 – In: Blumea. p 242