The Combretaceae are trees, shrubs, and lianas comprising about 20 genera and 600 species. The leaves are simple, alternate or opposite, entire; stipules small or absent. The flowers are bisexual or sometimes unisexual, usually actinomorphic. The perianth arises from near the summit of a tubular epigynous zone; calyx of usually 4 or 5 distinct to slightly connate sepals; corolla commonly of 4 or 5 distinct petals, occasionally absent. The androecium of 4-10 stamens is adnate to the epigynous zone, commonly in two cycles, often strongly exserted. The gynoecium is a single compound pistil of 2-5 carpels; style and stigma 1; ovary inferior, with 1 locule containing 2(-6) apical ovules pendulous on long funiculi. The nectary is usually a disk (often hairy) above the ovary. The fruit is 1-seeded, often a flattened, ribbed, or winged drupe.
Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.
|Bucida buceras, jucaro, tree.|
||Bucida spinosa, spiny black olive.|
|Combretum coccineum. scandent shrub.|
|Conocarpus erecta, sea mulberry, buttonwood, button mangrove, tree.|
|Quisqualis indica, Rangoon creeper. Vigorous vining shrub from S.E. Asia. The bitter fruits may cause illness and unconsciousness but nevertheless are sometimes taken medicinally as a vermifuge. The leaf juice is sometimes used to treat boils and ulcers.|
|Terminalia catappa, tropical almond, false kamani, kamani-haole. Tree from the E. Indies now common in Hawaii, especially along the coasts. The branches are spreading, sometimes in layers and the leaves frequently turn yellow or red before falling (rare in other plants in Hawaii). The malodorous flowers are small and white. The female flowers, at the base of the inflorescence, can be recognized by the elongated inferior ovary that gives the appearance of a longer pedicel. The fruit, somewhat like that of a large almond, yields a dye that can be used as ink and a seed that can be eaten raw or roasted. The strong, elastic timber is used in construction, and the roots, bark, leaves, and fruit are used medicinally and for tanning animal skins.|
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