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Small shrubs. Leaves hairy at least on veins; stipules usually forked, often with a group of glands on the inner surface near base, deciduous. Inflorescence terminal or from the uppermost leaf axils, forming bi or trichotomously branched corymbs, usually many-flowered. Flowers usually heterostylous, short-styled. Calyx tube short, cylindrical, white or red petaloid structure, similar in size and shape to leaves. Corolla tube usually slightly widened upwards with 5 spreading orange lobes. Stamens sessile, inserted in upper half of corolla tube. Ovary 2-celled, ovules numerous, stigmas 2. Fruit a fleshy, globose or ellipsoid berry.

Key to the species

Serial Key Reference
1a. Climbing shrubs 2
1b. Erect shrubs to small trees 4
2a. Leaves glabrous or few hairs on nerves beneath M. glabra
2b. Leaves sparsely to densely hirsute 3
3a. Petaloid sepal creamy white M. frondosa
3b. Petaloid sepal blood red M. erythrophylla
4a. Calyx lobes all similar, none flaglike or petaloid M. uniflora
4b. Calyx lobes not all similar, at least one calyx lobe enlarged into petaloid calycophyll 5
5a. Calyx teeth persisting till the fruit is ripe M. roxburghii
5b. Calyx teeth deciduous as soon as the flowering is over 6
6a. Stem and branches glabrous or with scattered spreading hairs. Flowers in terminal cymes, berries glabrous M. glabrata
6b. Stem and branches pilosulus to villous throughout 7
7a. Corolla orange-red M. macrophylla
7b. Corolla yellow. In some cultivars all sepals may be flaglike enlarged M. philippica