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Trees or shrubs, rarely herbs, monoecious or rarely dioecious, densely or sparsely clothed with stellate hairs or lepidote scales, stems watery, coloured or rarely milky sap. Leaves simple, alternate, petiolate, 2 (-10) sessile or stipitate glands at junction of petiole and lamina or scattered along margins, stipules caducous. Inflorescences terminal, racemiform cymes or thyrses, androgynous or unisexual; female flowers solitary at lower nodes; male flowers in fascicles at upper nodes; bracts shortly subulate or triangular. Male flowers: sepals 5, free or shortly connate base, valvate; petals isomerous with sepals, free, disc glands small, opposite to sepals; stamens 8-40, free, arranged in whorls; pistillode absent. Female flowers: sepals (4-) 5 (-10), connate base; petals 0-5 (-6), smaller than sepals or vestigial; disc glands small; staminodes absent or very rarely 1-5; ovary  3-locular; styles 3, free or shortly connate below into a column, once or repeatedly bifid above into linear or thickened branches; ovule one per locule. Fruits capsular, unlobed or lobed, 3-seeded. Seeds 3-angled, smooth, carunculate.

Key to the species

Serial Key Reference
1a. Stout erect herbs 2
1b. Shrubs or trees, occasionally climber 4
2a. Leaves unlobed and not hairy 3
2b. Leaves 3-lobed and hairy C. lobatus
3a. Plants densely ochraceous stellate-hirsute to scabrid; leaves stronly trinerved at base; female sepals distinctly unequal C. hirsutus
3b. Plants sparsely whitish stellate pubescent; leaves penninerved; female sepals more or less equal C. bonplandianus
4a. Leaves trinerved at base 5
4b. Leaves penninerved 7
5a. All parts glabrous or sparsely and softly stellate puberulous C. tiglium
5b. All parts coarsely stellate tomentellous, scabrid, hispid or hirsute 6
6a. Fruits 1.5-3 × 1.5-2.5 cm, globose, oblong or obovoid, thick walled, seeds with scattered stellate hairs C. caudatus
6b. Fruits 0.8-1.0 in dia. subglobose, thin walled, seeds glabrous C. lachnocarpus
7a. Indumentum of young shoots, petioles and rachis and flowers lepidote 8
7b. Indumentum of young shoots, petioles, rachis and flowers stellate-pubescent or lacking 9
8a. Leaves very coarsely dentate-serrate-crenate; capsules 8-10 × 8-12 mm, prominently lobed C. persimilis
8b. Leaves shallowly and evenly serrate-dentate to subentire; capsules 2.5-3.5 × 2.0-2.5 cm obscurely lobed C. joufra
9a. Leaf serrulate along margins, lateral nerve 8-16 pairs C. chittagongensis
9b. Leaf irregularly and not deeply dentate along margins, lateral nerve 2-9 pairs C. aromaticus