Family description

Evergreen shrubs or small trees and lianas, occasionally growing on rocks or on other trees (epiphytic), with or without thorns, resinous.
Leaves alternate, with petioles often clasping the twig (leaving large scars when dropped), leaf blades very variable in shape (often hand-shaped), also often differing strongly between juveniles and adults.
Flowers mostly small, bisexual or male only, usually placed in large, complex clusters with the flowers grouped into stalked clusters (umbels), typically at the end of twigs. Calyx minute, 5 free petals (rarely up to 11), 5 free stamens, styles free or fused into a column. Ovary inferior with thin disc.
Fruits small, globose or flattened with persistent styles at top, mostly thinly fleshy with several seeds.

General info

Distribution More than 50 genera, found across the tropics.
Ecology Usually in forest understorey, sometimes in open areas. Most common at higher elevations.

Treated genera

  • Schefflera
  • Trevesia

Schefflera sp

Trevesia palmata