Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi-75270
Dioecious shrubs or trees, often with stilt roots. Leaves in tristichous spirals, narrow, acuminate with sessile, sheathing base, midrib and margins spinous. Spadices axillary or terminal, simple or branched, enveloped by leafy spathes. Flowers fasciculate or paniculate. Perianth redimentary or absent. Male flowers: stamens numerous, filaments free or connate; anthers erect, basiflxed, 2-celled. Female flower: staminodes absent or present, if present small and hypogynous. Carpels connate in groups (phalanges) or all free, superior. Style 0 or very short. Ovules solitary-many, basal or parietal. Fruit an oblong-globose, fleshy or baccate, pulpy inside, syncarpous drupe. Seeds minute, striated, with fleshy endosperm and minute embryo.
A family with 3 genera and c. 700 species, distributed in the tropics of the Old World. Few are distributed in warm temperate regions of the world. Represented in Pakistan by a single genus.
Acknowledgements: The author is grateful to Mr. I.C. Hedge (Edinburgh) for going through the manuscript and offering valuable suggestions. The financial assistance received from United States Department of Agriculture under PL-480 programme with the coordination of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad is thankfully acknowledged.