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Trees, erect shrubs, or less frequently lianas or scandent shrubs, sometimes with axillary spines. Leaves simple, opposite or whorled, petiolate, with entire or dentate margins. Flowers showy, bisexual, zygomorphic, in axillary cymes or terminal panicles. Calyx campanulate or tubular, truncate, 5-lobate; corolla 5-merous, hypocrateriform; stamens 4, the filaments didynamous, adnate to the base of the corolla, exserted; ovary superior, 4-locular, each locule with a solitary ovule; style slender, crowned by a globose stigma. Fruit drupaceous, 4-lobate, with 4 pyrenes. A genus of approximately 400 species, the majority native to the tropics of the Old World.


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