Family description

Woody climbers and trees.
Leaves usually compound, generally cross-wise opposite, often with glands on lower leaf surface. Stipules absent.
Flowers large and showy, bisexual, 4-5 fused sepals, 4-5 fused petals, stamens 4 plus 1 staminode (infertile stamen) attached to corolla tube, often 2 of the 4 fertile stamens much longer than the other 2, ovary superior, 2-locular.
Fruit a flat woody capsule, with many winged seeds.

General info

Distribution Predominantly tropical family with 750 species worldwide. Rather common in South America, but mostly as lianas.
Ecology Almost exclusively in seasonal forests, preferring more open vegetation and forests.
Uses This family contains some of the most spectacular ornamental trees. Flowers of some species are eaten.
Similar to Gesneriaceae and Scrophulariaceae, but these are rarely woody, never lianas and always have simple leaves and seeds that are wingless. Verbenaceae, but these have few ovules (as opposed to many) and unwinged seeds.

Treated genera

  • Dolichandrone
  • Radermachera

Dolichandrone spathacea

Radermachera igneum