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  • Rhabdodendraceae Prance

This family is accepted.


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


Shrubs or small trees.  Leaves entire , alternate , gland -dotted, coriaceous , with small peltate hairs on undersurface; stipules small, subulate or obscure . Inflorescence of supra- axillary racemose panicles or racemes; bracts and bracteoles small and reduced to scales.  Flowers hermaphrodite ; receptacle broad, slightly concave; calyx very short, lobes 5 or indistince; petals 5, caducous , sepaloid, oblong or oblong - elliptic apex rounded or minutely apiculate , minutely punctuate, aestivation imbricate ; disk absent; stamens numerous (about 45), filaments short, flattened, persisting after anthers fall, and then recurved ; anthers linear , erect , basifixed, caducous , 4-locular, dehiscing longitudinally; ovary sessile , globose , glabrous , unilocular, inserted at base of concave receptacle ; ovule 1, basally attached, campylotropous; style arising from base of  ovary to one side of it, fairly thick, elongated; stigmatic surface on outermost side ascending from the base or middle. Fruit a small drupe , globose , terminating in a short stripe in cup-shaped receptacle ; exocarp thin, crustaceous when dry; endocarp slightly woody Seed 1, reniform - globose , exalbuminous, with a thin testa; cotyledons thickly fleshy , conferruminate; radicle small and bent inward towards  hilum .

General Description
Notes on delimitation
  • The family was often placed in or near Rutaceae and was in the Chrysobalanaceae for a while.
  • It differs in many characters from both families.
  • Molecular and wood anatomy place it near to the Phytolacaceae in the Caryophyllales.
Number of genera
  • A single genus, Rhabdodendron Gilg & Pilg. with three species.
  • Native and endemic to the Neotropics.
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • Confined to Amazonia, the Guianas and northeastern Brazil.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • Gynobasic style.
  • Long linear stamens with very short filaments.
  • The leaves have pellucidgland dots and small peltate hairs.
  • The wood of two species has anomalous secondary phloem.
Important literature

Fay, M.F., Cameron, K.M., Prance, G.T., Lledo, M.D. & Chase, M.W. 1997. Familial relationships of Rhabdodendron (Rhabdodendraceae): plastid rbcL sequences indicate a caryophyllid placement.  Kew Bull. 52: 923-932.

Prance, G.T. 1968. The systematic position of Rhabdodendron Gilg & Pilg. Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 38: 127-146.

Prance, G.T. 1972. Monograph of Rhabdodendraceae. Flora Neotropica 11: 1-22.

Prance, G.T.  2002. Rhabdodendraceae, pp. 339-341. In: K. Kubitzki and C. Bayer (eds.). The Families and  Genera of Vascular Plants, vol. . Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Rhabdodendraceae Prance appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Bull. Jard. Bot. État Bruxelles 38: 141. 1968 [30 Jun 1968] (1968)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016)

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. 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.