Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi.
Trees, up to 30 m tall with thick stem. Leaves alternate, petiolate, simple or digitately compound, deciduous, often with stellate hairs or scales; stipules deciduous. Inflorescence cymose, racemose or solitary, sometimes cauliflorus. Flowers hermaphrodite, large and showy, often appearing before the flush of new leaves, commonly bracteate, complete, rarely incomplete, actinomorphic, very rarely zygomorphic, usually pentamerous, often with an epicalyx; receptacle glandular or eglandular. Sepals 5 (2-3), free or connate, valuate in bud, rarely deeply 5-lobed with slightly imbricate lobes. Petals 5, free, elongated, contorted sometimes absent. Stamens 5 to numerous, free or united, staminal tube usually adnate to the petals; anthers reniform to linear, monothecous, rarely dithecous, dehiscing longitudinally, rarely porose; staminodes usually present. Carpels 2-5 (-6) or 10 (-15), syncarpous, ovary superior, 2-5 loculed, placentation axile; ovules 2-more on the inner angle of each locule, erect; style simple, capitate or lobed, with 1-5 stigmas. Fruit a loculicidally dehiscent; or indehiscent capsule, sometimes spinose or samaroid. Seeds embedded in the pericarp hairs or in a pith-like tissue, sometimes winged or arillate, endosperm scanty or lacking, embryo curved or straight.
A family of about 26 genera and nearly 140 pantropical species. It is re-presented in Pakistan by 3 genera and 3 species mostly known from cultivation only.
Acknowledgement: We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L.480. Thanks are also due to Mr. I.C.Hedge and Miss.J.Lamond of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, for their helpful suggestions.