Of all plant families the Meliaceae is among the more useful to man, chiefly for its high quality timbers and for the ease with which some species can be grown in plantations. Almost confined to the tropics, its species nevertheless pervade them, and occur, often conspicuously, in a variety of habitats from rain forest to mangrove swamp and semidesert. For its size, the family probably contains a wider range of floral and fruit structures than any comparable group. In what other family is there such a diversity of primitive ‘arillate’5 seeds, side-by-side with such an array of derived fruits and seeds, and still connected by intermediates? Or, to take the flower, where else can be found such a diversity of forms, from the minute, but structurally complex, flowers of Aglaia, often no larger than a pin-head, to the moth-pollinated flowers of some Turraea, with their slender staminal tubes reaching a length of 12 cm or more?