Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs, hermaphroditic, monoecious, dioecious, or polygamous, evergreen or deciduous; trunk, branches, and branchlets sometimes spiny; hairs simple, rarely T-shaped or stellate. Leaves simple, usually alternate, rarely opposite or verticillate, sometimes crowded at apices of branches; stipules usually small and caducous, sometimes larger, leaflike and persistent, rarely absent; petiole generally present, sometimes with apex 2-glandular and/or with additional glands along petiole length; leaf blade usually pinnate-veined, sometimes 3-5-veined from base or palmate-veined, with or without pellucid dots or lines, sometimes with a pair of glands at junction of blade and petiole, margin entire or toothed, teeth glandular or not. Inflorescences axillary, terminal, or cauliflorous, of various forms: racemose, spicate, cymose, corymbose, or paniculate, sometimes flowers fasciculate, or solitary; pedicels often articulate; bracts and bracteoles usually small to minute. Flowers radially symmetric, bisexual or unisexual, hypogynous, perigynous, or epigynous; perianth cyclic, rarely spiral, in unisexual flowers remnants of opposite sex present or absent. Sepals imbricate or valvate, rarely spathaceous, mostly (2 or)3-6, rarely more, usually free or connate at base only, sometimes partly united into a tube, caducous or persistent, rarely accrescent. Petals 3-8, rarely more, often isomerous and alternating with sepals, free, imbricate or valvate, rarely contorted, similar to sepals or not, sometimes with a fleshy adaxial basal scale, or petals absent. Disk present, entire, lobed, or comprised of free or connate disk glands, these extrastaminal, interstaminal, or intrastaminal (bisexual or staminate flowers), or extragynoecial (pistillate flowers), or disk absent. Stamens 1 to many (ca. 100), 1- or many seriate, sometimes in epipetalous bundles, or on margin of cupular disk or rim of calyx tube; filaments free, rarely united into a column; anthers 2-thecate, usually longitudinally dehiscent, rarely opening by terminal pores, connective sometimes shortly projected or glandular. Ovary superior or semi-inferior, 1-loculed, with 2-9 parietal placentas, rarely incompletely 2-9(or more)-celled by placentas protruding deeply into locule; ovules 2 or more on each placenta, orthotropous, anatropous, or hemi-anatropous; styles isomerous with placentas, free or partly to completely united, rarely absent, stigmas small or large, capitate to flattened and branched. Fruit capsular or baccate, rarely a drupe, pericarp mostly smooth, sometimes winged or bristly. Seeds 1 to many, with or without a fleshy sometimes brightly colored sarcotesta and/or aril, sometimes with long hairs, or broadly winged; endosperm usually copious and fleshy; embryo straight or curved; cotyledons usually broad, often cordate.
Ahernia glandulosa Merrill (Philipp. J. Sci. 4: 295. 1909), described from the Philippines, reportedly occurs in Hainan, but the present authors have seen no specimens from the Flora area. Flacourtia cavaleriei H. Léveillé (Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 9: 457. 1911) and Xylosma dunniana H. Léveillé (loc. cit.: 455) were both described from Guizhou. After studying specimens at K from the type gathering (Cavalerie 3327 and Cavalerie 1151, respectively), it is not clear where they belong, and for the time being they must be regarded as species incertae sedis. Erythrospermum hypoleucum Oliver is the basionym of Celastrus hypoleucus (Oliver) Warburg ex Loesener in the Celastraceae (see Fl. China 11). Oncoba spinosa Forsskal and Dovyalis hebecarpa (Gardner) Warburg are occasionally cultivated.
In some treatments, where the genera of Flacourtiaceae are completely transferred to other families, and Flacourtiaceae is treated as a synonym of Salicaceae sensu lato, Chinese genera have been reclassified as follows: two genera (Hydnocarpus and Gynocardia) moved to Achariaceae sensu lato, all others to Salicaceae sensu lato (Chase et al., Kew. Bull. 57: 141-181. 2002).
Lai Shushen. 1999. Flacourtiaceae. In: Ku Tsuechih, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 52(1): 1-80.
About 87 genera and ca. 900 species: mostly in tropical and subtropical regions, some extending into the temperate zone; 12 genera (one endemic) and 39 species (nine endemic) in China; four additional species (all endemic) are poorly known (see Homalium).
(Authors: Yang Qiner (杨亲二); Sue Zmarzty)