Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite, usually evidently petiolate, margin entire or serrate, rarely lobed. Cymes mostly corymbose, ebracteate. Flowers bisexual, frequently heterostylous or ± functionally unisexual. Calyx tubular or campanulate, enlarged after anthesis, persistent. Corolla white, yellow, or orange-red, campanulate to funnelform, usually (4- or) 5(-8)-lobed; lobes antrorse or recurved. Stamens usually well developed; filaments often pubescent at base. Ovary 4-loculed, glabrous; ovule 1 per locule. Style twice 2-cleft, each branch with a spatulate or capitate stigma. Drupes ovoid, globose, or ellipsoid, frequently with watery or sticky fleshy mesocarp and bony endocarp, rarely with corky mesocarp or nutlike without fleshy mesocarp. Seeds 1-4, without endosperm; cotyledons plicate.
Arboles o arbustos, deciduos o siempreverdes; plantas hermafroditas heterostilas, subdioicas o dioicas. Hojas enteras o serradas, pecioladas. Inflorescencias cimosas, paniculadas o a veces en capítulos o espigadas, terminales, axilares o internodales; flores bisexuales distilas u homostilas o unisexuales con estambres o gineceo reducido; cáliz tubular a campanulado, generalmente 5-lobado; corola tubular a campanulada, marcescente o decidua, generalmente 5-lobada; estambres generalmente iguales en número a los lobos de la corola; estilo 2 veces bífido, estigmas 4. Fruto con el cáliz persistente, drupáceo o seco; semilla 1.
Cordia es el género más grande en la familia con unas 325 especies, la mayor parte de las cuales se encuentran en América tropical; 24 especies se conocen en Nicaragua y otra se espera encontrar. Algunas de las especies son utilizadas como madera, principalmente C. alliodora. Los frutos de C. dentata y de algunas otras especies son comestibles.
I.M. Johnston. Studies in the Boraginaceae, XV. J. Arnold Arbor. 21: 336355. 1940, XVII. 30: 85104. 1949, XIX. 31: 172187. 1950.
Shrubs, sometimes scandent, or trees, sometimes functionally dioecious, stri- gose to softly pubescent, the hairs simple, uniseriate, or stellate. Leaves mostly alternate, rarely subopposite, simple, mostly homomorphic, sometimes dimorphic, petiolate. Inflorescences cymes, very irregular, paniculate and open, spike-like, or rarely densely glomerate, axillary or terminal, the bracts generally absent. Flowers perfect and homomorphic or functionally unisexual and slightly heteromorphic, actinomorphic, ? sessile; calyx of 5 connate sepals, tubular or ? campanulate, sometimes costate, densely strigose to softly pubescent, sometimes with resinous dots when young, 5-lobed or splitting irregularly and 2-4-lobed; corolla of 5(-12) connate petals, funnelform to salverform, marcescent or falling soon after anthesis, sparsely strigose to glabrous, white to cream, 5(-12)-lobed, the lobes oblong and conspicuous, almost as broad as long, or shallow and obscure; stamens as many as the corolla lobes, functional, or reduced and abortive, epipetalous, borne on the corolla throat, alternate, the filaments. sometimes fimbriolate and/or hooked near the base, the anthers dehiscing longitudinally, introrse; ovary 4-loculed, functional or reduced and abortive, unlobed, the ovules 1-4, usually only one developing, style slender, elongate, twice bifid, the stigmas 4 and capitate or clavate. Fruit usually drupaceous, unlobed, the exocarp dry or mucilaginous; seed usually 1.
Female with anthers sterile, otherwise similar to ♂ flowers
Calyx tubular or campanulate, smooth or with marked ribs, 2–5(–more)-lobed, persistent and accrescent in fruit
Flowers mostly white, yellow or orange, hermaphrodite, polygamous or unisexual (plant dioecious), subsessile or pedicellate, borne in terminal or axillary dichotomous corymbs, panicles or subglobose clusters of cymes, the branches scorpioid, without bracts
Male flowers with 4–8 stamens, the filaments often hairy at the base; ovary rudimentary but style absent
Fruits ovoid, globose or ellipsoid, included in or sitting in the persistent accrescent cupuliform calyx; endocarp bony with up to 4 locules but only 1–2 fertile
Style terminal, twice bifid (or abnormally twice trifid), the ultimate stigmatic parts of the 4 branches linear to subfoliaceous or terminated by 1 capitate or peltate stigma, rarely with 4 separate styles
Ovary 4-locular with 1 erect ovule in each locule
Stamens exserted or included, the filaments glabrous or pubescent at the base
Corolla funnel-shaped or salver-shaped, mostly 5- but sometimes 3–8-lobed; tube short or long, cylindric or widened; lobes erect, spreading or reflexed, imbricate or subcontorted in bud.
Trees or shrubs, less often climbers or scramblers
Leaves alternate or in a few (but sometimes very common species) subopposite, petiolate, simple, often large, entire to crenate-dentate
Leaves alternate, rarely subopposite, petiolate, entire to coarsely toothed.
Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual, actinomorphic, pedicelled or subsessile, the pedicels joined.
Cymes arranged in lax or dense or sometimes very contracted and subglobose panicles, ebracteate, terminal or axillary.
Corolla 4-5(7)-lobed, funnel-shaped to salver-shaped, white or yellowish; lobes imbricate or subcontorted in bud, shallow and obscure or oblong and conspicuous, patent or recurved at anthesis.
Calyx tubular or ± campanulate, sometimes sulcate, usually splitting irregularly, 3-5-toothed, enlarging in fruit.
Trees or shrubs sometimes dioecious.
Stamens or staminodes inserted in the corolla tube, as many as the corolla lobes and alternate with them; anthers oblong.
Ovary entire, 4-locular with 1 ovule in each locule (or reduced and abortive in male flowers); style terminal, twice cleft, with stigmatic branches linear or clavate.