National Herbarium, Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad.
Trees or shrubs. Leaves opposite, compound, imparipinnate. Stipules large, inconspicuous or lacking, sometimes glandular or represented by a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence terminal, many-flowered, corymbose or a paniculate cyme. Flowers hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, epigynous. Calyx 3-5, minute. Corolla united, 3-5-lobed, imbricate or valuate. Stamens 5, inserted at the base of corolla; anthers oblong, extrorse. Ovary 3-5-locular; style very short, thick; stigmas 3-5, capitellate. Ovules solitary in each locule. Fruit a berry-like drupe with 3-5 pyrenes. Seeds with membranous testa.
A small monotypic family with c. 30 species. Many authors include it in Caprifoliaceae from which it differs in having compound imparipinnate leaves which are often stipulate; corolla lobes which are usually valvate and anthers with extrorse dehiscence. Sambucaceae is also distinguished from Caprifoliaceae in such anatomical characters as the occurrence of crystals in cortex and pith, presence of thick-walled pericycle fibres and a large pith.
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L. 480 and to Mr. I.C. Hedge, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, for going through the manuscript.