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a family of dicotyledonous plants including trees, shrubs, and, less frequently, herbs. The flowers, which are usually regular and bisexual, are gathered in compound inflorescences. The five or, less frequently, three sepals are fused at the base. There are usually five petals; often the petals are reduced or absent altogether. The stamens are in two whorls; the ones in the outer whorl often are transformed into stamenodia or do not develop at all. The filaments of the stamens merge to form the style. In many species the stamens and pistil extend over the perianth (on the androgynophore). The ovary usually consists of five carpels. The fruits vary in shape, sometimes dividing into separate fruitlets. There are about 1,000 species, embracing more than 60 genera. The plants are found chiefly in the tropics of both hemispheres. Species of the genera Theobromus (cacao), Cola, and Sterculia are of practical significance.