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  1. Caryocaraceae Voigt

    1. This family is accepted.


Prance, G.T. (2009). Neotropical Caryocaraceae.


Large trees or more rarely shrubs or suffrutices, with opposite branches which are frequently horizontal. Stipules absent or present and soon caducous Leaves opposite or alternate , usually long- petiolate but very rarely almost sessile , trifoliolate ;  leaflets with short petioles, pinnately nerved, margins serrate , crenulate , dentate or rarely entire . Often with 2-4 stipels at base of leaflets, stipels persistent or caducous , sometimes with 2 large and 2 small stipels, absent in Anthodiscus G.Mey. Inflorescences of terminal racemes with a short rachis often rather corymbose;  pedicels articulate at apex . Bracts seldom developed, usually none, bracteoles lateral , alternate , small, subpersistent or caducous Flowers hermaphrodite , large in Caryocar L., small in Anthodiscus. Calyx distinctly 5(-6)- lobed , imbricate or with very small reduced indistinct dentate lobes. Petals 5 or rarely 6, imbricate , fused at base together with base of filaments and often caducous with filaments or fused at apex to form a caducous calyptra. Stamens numerous, 57-750, exceeding petals; filaments bent into an S in bud , those on interior shorter and sterile or with smaller anthers, often with a row of short sterile staminodes on interior,  basal portion of which form a glandular nectar secreting tissue or interior filaments erect and smaller in bud and outer filaments recurved towards apex ; apical portion of filaments tuberculate and entire length of smaller filaments sometimes tuberculate ;  anthers bilocular , oblong , introrse, dorsifixed or basifixed, longitudinally dehiscent . Ovary 4-locular, or rarely 6-locular, with a single ovule in each loculus, 8-15 locular in Anthodiscus. Styles 4 or 8-12, long filamentous. Fruit 4-6 or 8-15 locular, a drupe with from 1-4 loculi developing, and dehiscing into 1 seeded cocci or when 8-15 locular with most loculi developing seeds;  mesocarp thick and fatty or fleshy endocarp woody , muricate , tuberculate or spinous on exterior; or with a thick woody ridged pericarp , seeds reniform or subreniform, the embryo with a straight to arcuate radicle or laterally compressed . Germination hypogeal, first leaves opposite (in 2 species observed). N = 23.

General Description
Notes on delimitation
  • Generally placed in the Theales by almost all systems and thought to be close to Theaceae.
  • The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG) place it in the order Malpighiales that also includes the Theaceae, but they are not considered close within the order.
  • They are thought to have diverged from other Malpighiales in the Cretaceous-Albian, 111-100 million years before present.
Number of genera
  • Two genera in family, both Neotropical: Anthodiscus and Caryocar.
  • Native and endemic.
General notes
  • The fruit of some species of Caryocar are eaten and the genus also furnishes a good wood.
  • Caryocar is bat pollinated.
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • Confined to the Neotropics.
  • Caryocar from Costa Rica to Central and eastern Brazil and Bolivia.
  • Anthodiscus mainly in Western Amazonia and Venezuela with one species in eastern Brazil.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • Stamens with tubercules on filaments.
  • Trifoliolate leaves often with serrate margins in both genera.
  • Differs from Theaceae in both these characters.
  • Many stamens.
Useful tips for generic identification

Key to genera of Neotropical Caryocaraceae

1. Leaves opposite; calyx deeply lobed; ovary and fruit 4 (-6) locular; styles 4; radicle of embryo straight ...Caryocar
1. Leaves alternate; calyx truncately dentate and reduced; ovary and fruit 8-20-locular; styles 8-20; radicle of embryo twisted ...Anthodiscus    

Important literature

Prance, G. T. & Silva, M. F. da, 1973. Monograph of Caryocaraceae. Flora Neotropica 12: 1-75.

Prance, G. T. 1987. An update on the taxonomy and distribution of the Caryocaraceae. Opera Botânica 92: 179-183.       


Accepted Genera

Other Data

Caryocaraceae Voigt appears in other Kew resources:


First published in Hort. Suburb. Calcutt. 88. 1845 (1845)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016)


Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.