Family Flacourtiaceae A P de Candolle 1824 nom conserv the Flacourtia Family

Physical description: The family Flacourtiaceae consists of 85 genera and more than 800 species of tropical trees or shrubs. The leaves are simple, alternate, and pellucid-dotted or lined, and the stipules are often deciduous. The flowers are dioecious or polygamous, and often hypogynous. The calyx comprises of 3-15 sepals which are free, imbricate and alternate with the petals. The corolla comprises of 3-15 petals which are free, imbricate, and occasionally not distinguishable from the sepals. The andrecium consists of several stamens arranged in bundles opposite to the petals. The anthers are 2-celled and open by longitudinal slits. The gynecium consists of 2-10 carpels forming a compound, superior, and single-celled ovary containing 2 to several ovules. The ovules are anatropous to amphitropous or orthotropous, and are attached to parietal placentas. The styles are free or united to varying degrees, and the stigmas are distinct. The fruits are berries, or capsules or drupes. The seeds are often embedded in an aril.

Pharmaceutical interest: The freshly expressed oil of the seeds of Casearia sylvestris (Brazil), Hydnocarpus alcalae C. DC. (Filipino), Hydnocarpus anthelminticus Pierre (lukrabo or ta fung tsze seeds, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam), Hydnocarpus wightiana (India), Oncoba echinata (gorli oil) and Hydnocarpus kurzii (King) Warb. (Chaulmoogra oil), has been used externally since a very remote period in time to treat leprosy. This oil contains a unique class of cyclopentenic fatty acids, such as chaulmoogric acid (13-cyclo-pent-2-enyl-n-tridecanoicacid), hydnocarpic acid and gorlic acid, which destroy Mycobacterium leprae. Another example of medicinal Flacourtiaceae is Aphloia madagascariensis Clos., which appears in a few proprietary drugs used to promote urination. About 20 species of plants classified within the family Flacourtiaceae are used for medicinal purposes in Southeast Asia. Note that the oil expressed from the seeds is often used to treat skin diseases.

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