The Apocynaceae are trees, shrubs or sometimes herbs, usually with milky sap comprising about 200 genera and 2,000 species. The leaves are simple, usually opposite and decussate, or whorled; stipules are usually absent. The flowers are bisexual and actinomorphic or sometimes weakly zygomorphic. The calyx is synsepalous and usually 5-lobed. The corolla is sympetalous and usually 5-lobed. The stamens are distinct, as many as corolla lobes and alternate with them, and adnate to the corolla tube (or perigynous zone). The anthers are introrse and commonly adherent to the surface of the stigma. The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of 2 carpels that may be distinct at the level of the superior or rarely partly inferior ovary but which are united by a single style. When distinct, each ovary typically has few to numerous ovules on marginal placentae; when connate, the placentation is axile or intruded parietal. A nectary consisting of 5 glands or an annular ring is usually found at the base of the ovary. The fruit is commonly a follicle, capsule, or berry. The seeds usually are flat and winged or have a tuft of hairs at one end.

Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.

Alyxia oliviformis, maile. The bark and leaves of this native Hawaiian vine are used to make a fragrant lei.
Allamanda cathartica, allamanda, lani-ali'i. Climbing ornamental shrub from Brazil, with large yellow tubular flowers to about 3 inches in diameter. The leaves contain a cathartic.
Allamanda schottii, allamanda. Small shrub from Brazil, with yellow tubular flowers smaller than preceding species. Fruits globose, prickly, burlike. 
Alstonia scholaris, devil tree.  Native from India to Solomon Islands. UH Campus, Honolulu, HI, February, 2005.
Beaumontia jerdoniana. This species has a very broad corolla tube which makes it possible to easily see the anthers adhering to the stigma.
Carissa macrocarpa, Natal plum. In this species the tube of the 5-lobed corolla is very narrow. In the first image note the paired red fruits that have developed from the separate ovaries of the single pistil. They diverged during the maturation period following abscission of the unifying style (one ovary often aborts).
Cascabela thevetia, be-still tree. This is another example of a poisonous member of the family. Note the small droplets of white sap seeping out of the lower half of the fruit.
Catharanthus roseus, Madagascar periwinkle. Perennial herb or low shrub from W. Indies, with white or pink, slenderly tubular flowers; often used as a ground cover.
Cerbera manghas. Note the white sap oozing from the cuts on the fruit. Sap from species such as this have been used in arrow poisons.
Nerium oleander, oleander. This is a highly poisonous member of the family. The flowers have a fringe of extra appendages in the throat of the corolla.
Pachypodium lamerei, Madagascar palm, UC Davis greenhouse.
Plumeria obtusa, Singapore plumeria. This is one of the very common lei flowers in Hawaii.
Stemmadenia littoralis, lecheso. Small ornamental tree from Central America with paired oval leaves about 6 inches long and yellow-centered white tubular flowers about 2 inches or more in length. Note the complete separation of the two carpels in the developing fruit on the right (one carpel dehiscing as a follicle).
Strophanthus sp.
Tabernaemontana divaricata, Apocynaceae, paper gardenia, crape jasmine. Shrub from S.E. Asia, with white, often "doubled" flowers. Wood used for perfume and incense; plant has medicinal value but roots said to be poisonous.
Thevetia ahouai (identification courtesy of George de Verteuil)
Vinca major, periwinkle.  OSU Campus, Corvallis, OR, Jul 2004.
Vinca sp.

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