Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs, evergreen. Bud scales few, leaflike. Leaves alternate, rarely subopposite, usually pinninerved, rarely triplinerved. Flowers bisexual, small, arranged into a subterminal and usually short panicle. Perianth tube turbinate or ovoid, persistent, contracted on top after caducous. Fertile stamens 9, inserted on throat of perianth tube; filaments of 1st and 2nd whorls glandless, those of 3rd whorl each with 2 glands at base; anthers 2-celled; cells of 1st and 2nd whorls introrse, those of 3rd whorl extrorse. Staminodes of innermost whorl, shortly stalked, glandless. Ovary sessile, enveloped by perianth tube; style sublinear; stigma small, inconspicuous, rarely peltate. Fruit drupelike, globose, ellipsoid, or oblong, wholly enveloped by fleshy or hard and dilated perianth tube but leaving a small mouth on top, smooth or many angled outside.
The Chinese species of the genus all belong to Cryptocarya subg. Cryptocarya, characterized by plants with 9 fertile stamens. The species with 3 or 6 stamens previously placed in Cryptocarya are now included in the genus Aspidostemon Rohwer & H. G. Richter.
Cryptocarya austrokweichouensis X. H. Song (J. Nanjing Inst. Forest. 1984(4): 49. 1984) was described from S Guizhou (Libo) but could not be treated here because no material was seen by the present authors.
Between 200 and 250 species: tropical and subtropical regions, absent from C Africa, center of diversity in Malaysia but reaching as far as Australia and Chile; 21 species (15 endemic) in China.
(Authors: Li Xiwen (李锡文 Li Hsi-wen), Li Jie (李捷); Henk van der Werff)