Family description

Usually small trees without exudate, rarely thorny.
Leaves simple, alternate, spirally arranged or in two rows, smooth margins. Stipules absent.
Flowers regular, axillary, male and female on different trees. Males in short clusters (cymes), females solitary or in pairs. Calyx with 4(3-7) spreading or recurved lobes, often wavy and distinctly veined, persistent in fruits. Corolla with 3-7 twisted lobes, usually basally fused into a tube. Males with 3-many stamens, free or fused, often also with a sterile pistil. Females with 1-4(-8) free or fused styles, usually also with sterile stamens.
Fruit usually fleshy, sometimes dry and irregularly splitting. 2-16 seeds.

General info

Distribution Mainly tropical with 485 species.
Ecology Open and closed forests, mainly as an understorey tree in closed forests.
Uses Ebony wood. The fruits are usually poisenous and used for fish poisening and dyes, some fruits are edible.
Similar to Annonaceae, but these differ by presence of wood rays on twig cross section and bisexual flowers. Symplocaceae, but these differ in their usually toothed leaves which are never placed in two rows, and inferior ovaries. Sapotaceae, but these differ in spirally placed leaves, white sap and bisexual flowers.

Treated genera

  • Diospyros


Diospyros borneensis

Diospyros sumatrana