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Trees or shrubs, dioecious. Leaves simple, distichous; Stipules very asymmetric, early caducous. Inflorescences dense axillary clusters of flowers (reduced thyrses), brachyblasts increasing in size with age. Flowers actinomorphic; Fruit a rhegma, subglobose, in Malesia outside densely echinate with glochidiate hairs, inside glabrous, dehiscing septicidally into 3(-4) segments, latter almost loculicidally split to the base; Seeds ovoid, flattened, 1-3 per fruit, black, glossy, covered in upper third by a thin aril;


Pantropical present, W Malesia present
10 or 11 species pantropical, one species in W Malesia.


1. The third (and very seldom a fourth) inner sepal is placed within the other two sepals and is alternisepalous and thinner than the sepals. Therefore, it might as well be described as a petal (see also ). Petals are reported to be absent in Chaetocarpus and this character is considered to be the main difference with the genus Trigonopleura. Obviously, the difference between both genera is not in the complete absence or presence of petals, but in the reduced number of petals in Chaetocarpus.
2. The New Guinean specimens (Docters van Leeuwen 10234 and Takeuchi et al. 15939), identified as C. pubescens (Thwaites) Hook.f. (a species so far only known from Sri Lanka), are not added to this treatment, because the material is too poor to ascertain their identification.


Pax 1890 – In: Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 3. p 89
Welzen 2000: p. 56. – In: Thai Forest Bull., Bot. f. 3
Hook.f. 1887 – In: Fl. Brit. India. p 460
Radcl.-Sm. 2001: Gen. Euphorbicearum. p 116
Whitmore 1973 – In: Tree Fl. Malaya. p 76
Welzen 1994 – In: Rheedea. p 94
Gagnep. 1926 – In: M.H.Lecomte, Fl. Indo-Chine 5. p 471
Airy Shaw 1972 – In: Kew Bull. p 231
Thwaites 1861: Enum. Pl. Zeyl. p 274
Baill. 1858: Étude Euphorb. p 323
Craib 1912 – In: Contr. Fl. Siam, Aberdeen Univ. Stud. p 194
G.L.Webster 1994 – In: Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. p 65
Ridl. 1924 – In: Fl. Malay Penins. p 310
Thwaites 1981 – In: Kew Bull. p 275
Müll.Arg. 1866 – In: DC., Prodr. 15. p 1121
Thwaites 1897: Nat. Pflanzenfam. p 212
Pax & K.Hoffm. 1912 – In: Engl., Pflanzenr. 147. p 7
Airy Shaw 1975 – In: Kew Bull. p 67
Kurz 1877 – In: Forest Fl. Burma. p 408
Müll.Arg. 1866 – In: DC., Prodr. 15. p 1257