Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs, evergreen. Leaves alternate, usually crowded toward apices of branchlets, shortly petiolate; stipules usually absent; leaf blade simple. Flowers showy, borne in short, bracteate racemes or spikes, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, bisexual. Calyx with a campanulate tube adnate to ovary; lobes 4-6, thick. Petals 4-6, free, rarely absent. Stamens many, united at base into several whorls, often several sterile, either monadelphous and equally arranged around disk, or diadelphous in 2 unequal bundles, outermost staminodial; anthers basifixed, 2-celled, opening by longitudinal slits. Disk sometimes lobed. Ovary inferior or semi-inferior, 2-6-loculed; ovules 1 to many per locule; placentation axile; style terminal, simple; stigma capitate. Fruit an indehiscent berry or operculate capsule, often crowned by persistent calyx lobes. Seed[s] 1 [to many]; endosperm absent.
Lo Hsien-shui. 1983. Lecythidaceae. In: Fang Wen-pei & Chang Che-yung, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 52(2): 121-125.
About 20 genera and 450 species: tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Australia, some Pacific islands, and South America; one genus and three species (one endemic) in China.
(Authors: Qin Haining (覃海宁); Ghillean T. Prance)