Trees, shrubs or twiners, usually glabrous. Leaves simple, usually entire, alternate, exstipulate. Inflorescence corymbose or cymose. Flowers bisexual, pentamerous, hypogynous. Petals and sepals free or basally united, imbricate. Stamens 5, alternating with the petals. Carpels 2, rarely 3-5, syncarpous; ovary superior, 1-locular or 2-5-locular due to the ingrowing parietal placentae; style single; stigma capitate or lobed. Fruit a capsule or a berry; seeds winged or not.
A family of 9 genera and about 350 species distributed in the tropical and temperate regions of the Old World. Found chiefly in Australia. Represented here by 1 genus.
The family shows some affinities with Escalloniaceae, resembling it in habit and some leaf characters, but differing in most of the floral characters; the major contrast being that of free styles and a superior to inferior ovary in Escalloniaceae as compared to a single style and always a superior ovary in Pittosboraceae.
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L. 480 and to Messrs. B.L. Burtt, I.C. Hedge and Miss J. Lamond of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, for giving valuable suggestions.