Family description

Trees or rarely shrubs. Bark with strong aromatic smell, sometimes with white sap.
Leaves alternate, very rarely in pseudowhorls, compound (imparipinnate, rarely trifoliolate, sometimes 1-foliolate), leaflet margin usually entire except some Canarium species. Stipules absent (rarely pseudostipules or subulate stipules present). Petioles sometimes thickened at both ends.
Inflorescences paniculate (or tending to racemose or spike-like).
Flowers small, unisexual (male and female flowers on different plants) or bisexual (Garuga), regular. Sepals 3--5, usually connate. Petals 3--5, free. Stamens usually twice as many as the petals, in 1 or (2) whorl(s), free or more or less fused. Disc intrastaminal, variable in shape and size. Ovary superior, usually 3 or 5 locular, locules with 2 ovules; style simple; stigma globular, often slightly lobed.
Fruit drupe-like with a non-dehiscent, mostly fleshy pericarp; locules with 1 seed. Seeds without endosperm; cotyledons containing oil.

General info

Distribution About 18 genera with c. 540 species, throughout the tropical regions of the world. In Malesia rarely found above 1000 m altitude.
Ecology Usually rather big trees in closed forests.
Uses Timber (Canarium spp.); Resins and edible seeds.
Similar to May be confused with Anacardiaceae, Simaroubaceae and/or Meliaceae, but can be distinguished from Meliaceae by the separate or more or less fused stamens, from Simaroubaceae by the absence of gland dots and from the Anacardiaceae by its colourless or white-yellow resin (which only rarely slowly turns into black).

Treated genera

  • Canarium
  • Garuga


Canarium hirsutum

Garuga sp