Description from Flora of China
Adamaram Adanson; Badamia Gaertner; Buceras P. Browne; Bucida Linnaeus, nom. cons.; Myrobalanus Gaertner; Pentaptera Roxburgh.
Trees, often very large and buttressed, rarely shrubs. Branches often in tiers. Leaves spiraled, alternate, subopposite, or opposite, often crowded into pseudowhorls at apices of branchlets; leaf blade oblong, elliptic, obovate, or orbicular, hairy or glabrous, often minutely verruculose and translucent dotted (from calcium oxalate crystals), often with domatia, often with 2 or more glands at or above leaf blade base or on petiole. Inflorescences axillary or terminal spikes or racemes, sometimes panicles, with bisexual flowers toward base of inflorescence and male flowers toward apex. Calyx tube proximally broadly cylindric to ellipsoid or ovoid, distally cupular or sometimes scarcely developed; lobes 4 or 5, deltoid or ovate. Petals absent. Stamens 8 or 10. Fruit variable in size and shape, often fleshy and drupelike, sometimes dry and leathery or corky, often longitudinally 2-5-winged, or -ridged, sometimes weakly so; endocarp usually at least partly sclerenchymatous.
The following species have been recorded as cultivated in China. Two species have fruit with 5 broad wings: Terminalia alata Heyne ex Roth (T. tomentosa (Roxburgh) Wight & Arnott; Pentaptera tomentosa Roxburgh), from India to Vietnam, has been recorded from Guangdong (Guangzhou); T. arjuna (Roxburgh ex Candolle) Wight & Arnott (P. arjuna Roxburgh ex Candolle), from India, has been recorded from Fujian (Xiamen), Guangdong (Dinghu Shan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong), and Guangxi. These two species may be distinguished by their fruit: T. alata has fruit ovoid, ca. 3 cm, with wings not or scarcely extending beyond the apex, whereas T. arjuna has fruit obovoid, ca. 5 cm, with wings obviously extending beyond the apex. Terminalia muelleri Bentham (Myrobalanus muelleri (Bentham) Kuntze), from Australia, is similar to T. catappa but with fruit only ca. 1.6 cm; it has been recorded from Guangdong (Guangzhou). In addition, T. mantaly H. Perrier, from Madagascar, with small, cuneate-oblanceolate leaves 5-7 cm and short spikes 4-5 cm, has been recorded as a street tree in Taiwan (Taizhong).
About 150 species: tropics of Africa, America, and Asia, extending to S Africa, Australia, and Pacific islands; six species in China.