Trees, shrubs, or sometimes herbs containing resin or oil in schizogenous spaces or canals and sometimes black or red glands containing hypericin or pseudohypericin. Leaves simple, entire or rarely gland-fringed, opposite or sometimes whorled, nearly always estipulate. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, regular, hypogynous, solitary or in cymes or thyrses; bracteoles often inserted just beneath calyx and then not always easily distinguishable from sepals. Sepals (2-)4 or 5(or 6), imbricate or decussate or rarely wholly united in bud, inner ones sometimes petaloid. Petals [3 or]4 or 5[or 6], free, imbricate or contorted in bud. Stamens many to rarely few (9), in [3 or]4 or 5 bundles (fascicles) that are free and antipetalous or variously connate, with filaments variously united or apparently free and then sometimes sterile (staminodes); anther dehiscence longitudinal. Staminode bundles (fasciclodes) 3-5, free and antisepalous or variously connate or absent. Ovary superior, with 2-5(-12) connate carpels, 1-12-loculed, with axile to parietal or basal placentation; ovules 1 to many on each placenta, erect to pendulous; styles 1-5[-12], free or ± united or absent; stigmas 1-12, punctiform to peltate or, when sessile, radiate, surface papillate or smooth. Fruit a septicidal or septifragal, rarely loculicidal, capsule, berry, or drupe; seeds 1 to many, without or almost without endosperm [sometimes arillate].
About 40 genera and 1200 species: mainly in tropical regions, except Hypericum and Triadenum, which are both mainly temperate in distribution; eight genera (one endemic) and 95 species (48 endemic, one introduced) in China.
The Clusiaceae are here treated sensu lato. Some authors treat Hypericaceae (genera nos. 1-4 in this treatment: Hypericum, Lianthus, Triadenum, and Cratoxylum) separately from Clusiaceae sensu stricto (genera nos. 5-8: Mesua, Calophyllum, Mammea, and Garcinia).
The Clusiaceae are a rather economically important family. Many species, such as Mesua ferrea and Garcinia paucinervis, have hard wood. Numerous species in Calophyllum, Clusia Linnaeus, and Garcinia produce valuable commercial resin or gum. Gamboge is produced from Garcinia morella Desrousseaux and other species. Garcinia mangostana and Mammea americana Linnaeus produce well-known edible fruits. Other species, such as Calophyllum inophyllum and Garcinia indica Choisy, have oily seeds. Hypericum is important in horticulture and medicine.
Garcinia schefferi Pierre and Pentadesma butyracea Sabine are cultivated only to a minor degree in China and are therefore not treated here.
Li Xiwen & Li Yan-hui. 1990. Guttiferae. In: Li Hsiwen [Xiwen], ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 50(2): 1-112.