Trees', growth flush-wise, the flushes developing from large buds. Leaves simply pinnate, (1- or) 2-15-jugate. Stipules present in the buds, very tender, caducous immediately after the unfolding of the bud, leaving hardly any scar. Inflorescences axillary, racemose, sessile, globular, contracted, dense, the rachis usually sturdy; bracts scale-like, veined lengthwise, lower ones broad reniform, gradually becoming ovate to lanceolate from halfway through the raceme, mostly persistent, appressed-hairy, glabrescent or not; bracteoles caducous, either linear, flat, small (not exceeding 5 mm), or larger (5-20 mm), obovate to spathulate, folded lengthwise with an apical tuft of hairs and usually a line of hairs along the dorsal side. Flowers bisexual. Sepals 4 (or 5), imbricate, reflexed at anthesis. Petals 5 (very occasionally some or all of them absent in M. brassii), narrow, free, glabrous. Stamens 15-80, filaments often connate at base, sometimes with a few hairs; anthers medi-dorsifix, lengthwise introrsely dehiscent, 1-2 mm long, very often separate below the insertion of the filament, mostly apiculate at apex. Ovary 1- (or 2-)ovuled, sessile or stipitate, the stipe usually central. Seeds globular, cotyledons smooth, semi-globular.
Asia-Tropical:, India present Australasia: Carolines: present Melanesia: present Pacific:, Fiji (Fiji present); Tonga (Tonga present) SE Asia: present Solomon Islands: present
A genus of 20-25 species, distributed in India, SE Asia, Malesia, Melanesia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands (Carolines, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Tonga). About 13 species occurring in Malesia (most of them in New Guinea, some also in Celebes and Moluccas), not including the species only found in the Solomon Islands.
The genus Maniltoa is very closely allied to Cynometra and was treated as a section of the latter genus by Taubert . Some years later, however, Harms maintained it as a distinct genus, and since that treatment, Maniltoa has been generally accepted. Because the two genera had never been revised as a whole and there had been confusion concerning their generic limits, Knaap-van Meeuwen (1970) made a thorough study of the genera, reviewing the history of their classification. She redelimited the two genera and listed the main differences especially in floral characters in the keys to the genera in her revision. Since then her delimitation of the two genera has generally been followed by, for example, Verdcourt (1979), Cowan & Polhill (1981), A.C. Smith , and also in the present Flora.
Plants of this genus are used as ornamentals because of their beautifully coloured young leaves and flowers.