Description: Trees, shrubs or climbers with aromatic wood and leaves.
Leaves alternate, 2-ranked, simple, margins entire, with fine oil dots; stipules absent.
Flowers mostly solitary or paired, actinomorphic, usually bisexual. Sepals commonly 3, free or basally fused; petals 6 in 2 whorls, free. Stamens hypogynous, numerous, free and spirally arranged [rarely few and whorled]; filaments short, anthers 2-locular, often overtopped by an enlarged connective, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Carpels numerous, free; ovules 1–several in each carpel.
Fruit a berry, formed from individual carpels, separate and stipitate [or closely appressed to form an aggregate fruit].
Distribution and occurrence: World: 120 genera, 2100 species, mainly tropical, especially Africa to Asia. Australia: 15 genera, c. 28 species, Qld, N.S.W., N.T., chiefly tropical
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Annonaceae, Order: Magnoliales)
Some non-Australian species yield timber and edible fruit. The Custard Apple, Annona reticulata L., from tropical America is cultivated widely in tropical countries for its fruit.
Text by G. J. Harden
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Leaves lanceolate to oblong to narrow-elliptic; domatia absent; berries 1–4-seeded, constricted between seeds||2|
|Leaves ovate to elliptic; hairy domatia present; berries always 1-seeded||Polyalthia|
|2||Climbers, sometimes erect in juvenile stages; flowers pseudoterminal or leaf-opposed; apex of leaves obtuse or notched||Melodorum|
|Shrubs or small trees; flowers axillary; apex of leaves acuminate, acute|
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