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A family of dicotyledonous plants in the order Celastrales characterized by erect and basal ovules, a flower disk that surrounds the ovary at the base, and opposite or sometimes alternate leaves.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a family of dicotyledonous plants consisting of evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and vines. The leaves are simple with small stipules. The flowers, which are usually plain, are regular, more often bisexual than unisexual, and more often in racemes than solitary. There are four or five sepals and petals and either the same number of stamens or eight to ten stamens. There is a well-developed nectarous disk inside the flower. The ovaries are either superior, or, less frequently, semi-inferior. The fruits are pod, berry, samara, or drupe, and the seeds are usually supplied with a fleshly caruncle (aril). The caruncles are often brightly colored; their coloring promotes their distribution by birds. There are about 60 genera and 850 species in countries with tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates in both hemispheres, more in southern Asia and southern Africa than elsewhere. In the USSR there are three genera— Euonymus, Kalonymus, and Celastrus—comprising 19 species; the species of the last two genera are found mainly in the Far East.


Prokhanov, Ia. I. “Bereskletovye—Celastraceae Lindl.” In Flora SSSR, vol. 14. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Takhtadzhian, A. L. Sistema i filogeniia tsvetkovykh rastenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.