Shrubs or trees, deciduous [evergreen], often accumulating aluminum, tanniferous. Leaves alternate, spirally [distichously] arranged, simple; stipules absent; petiole present; blade margins serrate, serrulate, dentate, or crenulate-serrulate, sometimes nearly entire. Inflorescences usually axillary, rarely internodal, panicles or fascicles [racemes, spikes, or solitary flowers]. Flowers bisexual [unisexual]; perianth and androecium epigynous; hypanthium adnate to ovary wall; sepals [3-]5, connate proximally; petals [3-]5[-11], connate proximally [to middle]; nectary disc present; stamens ca. 40-100 [rarely ca. 5-15 in dioecious species], adnate to corolla at base [to middle], 1-4-seriate, in antisepalous fascicles [± evenly distributed]; anthers dehiscent by longitudinal slits; pistils 1, 2-3-carpellate; ovary inferior [subinferior], incompletely 2- or 3[-5]-locular; placentation mostly axile (intruded); ovules anatropous, unitegmic, tenuinucellate; styles 1, hollow, filiform [subulate]; stigmas 1, 2-5-lobed [capitate]. Fruits drupaceous. Seeds 1[-5], brown, ovoid or reniform, [ellipsoid, ampulliform, U-shaped, or S-shaped]; embryo straight [curved]; endosperm copious, oily.
Shrubs or trees, evergreen (Symplocos paniculata deciduous). Leaves spirally or distichously arranged, simple; stipules absent; leaf blade margin entire, dentate, or glandular dentate, midvein adaxially impressed or rarely flat or prominent. Inflorescences in spikes, racemes, panicles, or glomerules, rarely flowers solitary. Flowers actinomorphic, bisexual, rarely unisexual, supported by 1 bract and 2 bractlets, rarely bractless or with several bracts in leaf axil. Ovary inferior to half inferior, 2--5-locular but unless stated otherwise in descriptions 3-locular, with 2--4 ovules per locule. Calyx lobes (3--)5, persistent, valvate or imbricate. Corolla white (not repeated in descriptions) or yellow, gamopetalous but divided nearly to base (or to middle in S. pendula); lobes (3--)5(--11), imbricate. Stamens many, rarely 4 or 5, adnate to base of corolla tube, monadelphous in subgenus Symplocos, monadelphous to pentadelphous in subgenus Hopea; filaments distinct or in fascicles; anthers subglobose, 2-locular. Ovary usually with an apical 5-glandular, annular, cylindrical, or 5-lobed disc. Style 1, filiform; stigma small, capitate or 2--5-lobed. Fruit a drupe. Seeds with copious endosperm; embryo straight or curved; cotyledons very short.
SELECTED REFERENCES Fritsch, P. W. et al. 2006. Phylogeny of Symplocos based on DNA sequences of the chloroplast trnC-trnD intergenic region. Syst. Bot. 31: 181-192. Fritsch, P. W. et al. 2008. Revised infrafamilial classification of Symplocaceae based on phylogenetic data from DNA sequences and morphology. Taxon 57: 823-852. Nooteboom, H. P. 2004. Symplocaceae. In: K. Kubitzki et al., eds. 1990+. The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. 9+ vols. Berlin, etc. Vol. 6, pp. 443-449. Ståhl, B. 2004b. Symplocaceae. In: N. P. Smith et al., eds. 2004. Flowering Plants of the Neotropics. Princeton. Pp. 365-366. Wang, Y. et al. 2004. Phylogeny and infrageneric classification of Symplocos (Symplocaceae) inferred from DNA sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 91: 1901-1914. Wood, C. E. Jr. and R. B. Channell. 1960. The genera of the Ebenales in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 41: 1-35.