Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi-32.
Trees, shrubs or rarely woody climbers, often aromatic; indumentum (if present) of simple or stellate hairs or scaly. Leaves alternate, mostly distichous, thin to coriaceous, entire, exstipulate, often with a glaucous sheen. Flowers usually on the young leafy shoots or on the old wood, rarely on underground suckers; terminal or axillary or extra-axillary; bisexual, rarely unisexual, regular; solitary, paired, cymose or fasciculate, sessile or stalked; mosly bracteate and bracteolate. Sepals 2-3, valvate, rarely imbricate, free or ± united, rarely accrescent. Petals 3-6-(-12), often fleshy, usually in two equal or unequal whorls, rarely in one whorl of 6, 4, or 3, valvate or imbricate, rarely open in bud; free or ± united at base, rarely absent. Stamens usually numerous, spirally (often compactly) arranged on the flat, convex or conical receptacle, rarely 6-12 and whorled; sometimes outer stamens petaloid; anther linear to rounded, dehiscence extrorse or lateral, rarely apical or introrse; connective usually broad and produced beyond the anther-locules, apex truncate, oblique, capitate, convex, conical or acute; filaments usually short and free, rarely elongate and united in a cone over the carpels. Carpels 1-numerous, free or basally united, or completely united to form a unilocular ovary with parietal placentation; ovules 1-numerous, styles short, thick, free, or rarely connate, stigma capitate or oblong. Fruit consisting of 1-several fleshy or woody, stipitate or sessile monocarps, mosly indehiscent; or fused to form aggregate fruit; or 1-locular and numerous seeded. Seeds vertical to horizontal, sometimes arillate, endosperm abundant, ruminate; embryo minute.
A family of about 120 genera and 2100 species, distributed mainly in the tropics of Old and New World, usually at lower altitudes; represented by 4 genera and 6 species in Pakistan, all except Miliusa are cultivated.
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the authorities of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and British Museum (Natural History), London for sending the specimens on loan. Thanks are due to Mr. I.C. Hedge (Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh) for going through the manuscript. We are indebted to Dr. C.E. Jarvis (BM) for his help in the typification of some of the Annona species. The financial assistance received from U.S. Department of Agriculture under P.L. 480 with the coordination of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad is thankfully acknowledged.