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Trees or shrubs, often climbing woody plants. Leaves petiolate, simple, alternate, distichous,  entire. Inflorescence determinate, often reduced to a single flower, terminal, axillary, leaf-opposed or intermodal. Flowers usually bisexual, rarely unisexual. Sepals 3, free or connate, usually valvate. Petals 6, distinctly or shortly connate at the base 2-seriate, or the inner absent. Stamens many, closely packed on the torus. Carpels mostly  numerous, inserted on a flat or convex receptacle. Ovaries 1 or more, apocarpous, Very Rarely (Annona) syncarpous. Fruit 1 or more, sessile or stalked, 1- or many-seeded, usually with indehiscent carpels. Seeds large, testa crustaceous or coriaceous.

Key to the Genus

Serial Key Reference
1a. Carpels confluent Annona
1b. Carpels not confluent in front 2
2a. Petals imbricate 3
2b. Petals valvate 6
3a. Trees or self-supporting shrubs; sepals imbricate 4
3b. Woody climbers; sepals valvate 5
4a. Trees; anthers sunk in truncate and quadrate connectives; ovule many Sageraea
4b. Shrubs; anthers not sunk in connective; ovule one Trivalvaria
5a. Flowers opening wide when mature; receptacle depressed Uvaria
5b. Flowers not opening wide when mature; receptacle flattened Cyathostemma
6a. Woody climbers 7
6b. Trees or shrubs 10
7a. Peduncles and fruiting pedicels hook-like Artabotrys
7b. Peduncles and fruiting pedicels not hook-like 8
8a. Petals of both series unequal 9
8b. Petals of both series subequal. Outer petals subconvex or angular, inner petals usually triquetrous, touching each other vertically Fissistigma
9a. Ripe carpels ellipsoidal, moniliform; ovules 2- 6, 1-seriate on ventral suture Desmos
9b. Ripe carpels globose to cylindric, never moniliform; ovules 1- 2 Friesodielsia
10a. Ripe carpels dehiscent. Stipe clavate, ovules 2 per carpel Anaxagorea
10b. Ripe carpels indehiscent 11
11a. Petals (2 or) 3 in 1 series Dasymaschalon
11b. Petals 6 in 2 series 12
12a. Petals unequal; inner ones longer than outer 13
12b. Petals subequal; inner one equal or slightly larger than outer 15
13a. Outer petals 2 -7 mm, usually smaller than inner petals and similar to sepals. Inner petal with short basal claw, shallowly saccate Miliusa
13b. Outer petals more than 12 mm, equaling or longer than inner petals, conspicuously different from sepals 14
14a. Stamens linear oblong; inner petal with a short claw or petal not narrowed in to claw or stipe Goniothalamus
14b. Stamens cuneate; inner petals each with a long claw or stipe. Outer petals 1.6 – 2.5 (- 3.4) cm long; flowers extra axillary Mitrephora
15a. Ripe carpels 1 – 6. Ovules 4-8 Alphonsea
15b. Ripe carpels many, more than 6 16
16a. Ovules 1 – 2; ripe carpels 1 -seeded Polyalthia
16b. Ovules many; ripe carpels 6 – 12 seded Cananga