Family Theaceae Ddon 1825 nom conserv the Tea Family

Physical description: The family Thea-ceae consists of 40 genera and 600 species of tropical and sub-tropical shrubs and trees commonly producing tannins, proanthocyanins, ellagic acid, saponins, caffeine and xanthones. It is generally agreed that the family Theaceae is closely related to the family Dilleniaceae, except for the compound ovary and seeds that lack aril. The leaves are simple, alternate, crenate and without stipules. The flowers are showy, axillary, solitary, perfect and hypogynous, and comprise of 5 imbricate and free sepals, and 5 or more, free, imbricate, often white petals.The andrecium comprises of numerous stamens developing centrifugally with tetrasporangiate and dithecal anthers opening by longitudinal slits. The gynecium consists of 3-5 carpels united into a compound, 3-5 locular ovary with axillary placentation. The fruits are dehiscent capsules.

Pharmaceutical interest: Classical examples of Theaceae are Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze. (Tea) and Camellia japonica L. (Camellia). In Southeast Asia, about 15 species of Theaceae are used for medicinal purposes, notably to stop hemorrhages and dysentery, and to treat skin diseases on account of their astringent properties. It will be interesting to learn whether more intensive future research on the phenolic compounds of this family will disclose any molecules of therapeutic interest.

Uses: In Indonesia, an oil expressed from the seeds is used externally to heal wounds and sores in the mouth.

Continue reading here: Camellia sinensis L O Ktze

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