Trees or shrubs (or rarely suffrutices outside Malesia). Leaves simple, alternate, often coriaceous, glabrous or with an indumentum on undersurface, margin entire; petioles often with 2 lateral glands. Stipules 2, minute and caducous to large and persistent, usually linear-lanceolate. Inflorescence racemose, paniculate or cymose; flowers bracteate and usually bibracteolate; bracts and bracteoles small and caducous or larger and enclosing flower or groups of flowers and persistent. Flowers actinomorphic to zygomorphic, hermaphrodite or rarely polygamous, markedly perigynous. Receptacle campanulate to cylindrical or rarely flattened cupuliforum, often gibbous at base; calyx lobes 5, imbricate, often unequal, erect or reflexed. Petals 5 (absent in some Neotropical species), inserted on margin of disk, commonly unequal, imbricate, deciduous, rarely clawed. Stamens indefinite, 2—60 (to 300 in Neotropics), inserted on margin of the disk, in a complete circle or unilateral, all fertile or some without anthers and often reduced to small tooth-like staminodes; filaments filiform, free or ligulately connate, short and included to long and far exserted; anthers small, 2-locular, longitudinally dehiscent, glabrous or rarely pubescent. Ovary basically of three carpels but usually with only one developed, the other two aborted or vestigial, variously attached to (the base, middle or mouth of) receptacle, usually sessile or with short gynophore, pubescent or villous; ovary unilocular with two ovules or bilocular with one ovule in each locule. Ovules erect, with micropyle at base (epitropous). Style filiform, basally attached; stigma 3-lobed or truncate. Fruit a fleshy or dry drupe of varied size, interior often densely hairy; endocarp much varied, thick or thin, fibrous or bony, often with a special mechanism for seedling escape. Seed erect, exalbuminous, the testa membraneous; cotyledons amygdaloid, plano-convex, fleshy, sometimes ruminate. Germination hypogeal with the first leaves opposite or alternate or epigeal with opposite first leaves. An extensive review of the generic limits of the family has been published: G.T. PRANCE & F. WHITE, The genera of Chrysobalanaceae: a study in practical and theoretical taxonomy and its relevance to evolutionary biology, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London 320 (1988) 1—184. This contains full details of taxonomic history, morphology, anatomy, pollen, ecology and distribution of the family. A condensed version of these subjects is given here. Details of the Neotropical members of the family are given in: G.T. PRANCE, Chrysobalanaceae, Flora Neotropica 9 (1972) 1—410. The African members of the family were treated in: F. WHITE, The taxonomy, ecology and chorology of African Chrysobalanaceae (excluding Acioa), Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 46 (1976) 265—350.