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Trees or shrubs, monoecious or dioecious; indumentum of stellate hairs, mixed with sessile yellow or red gland dots. Leaves alternate, subopposite, decussate, entire or  palmately lobed, palmately 3-9-nerved, discoid almost immersed glands near base on upper surface; stipules minute. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, simple or branched racemes or spikes. Male flowers: 1-9 per node along rachis, sepals 3 or 4; petals and disc absent; stamens 20-100, free, crowded on a central receptacle; disc rarely present; pistillode minute. Female flowers: solitary or rarely paired at nodes along the rachis; calyx spathaceous, deeply 3-6-lobed; ovary (2-) 3 (-4)-loculed, echinate, muricate or tubercled, styles 2-3, free or shortly connate base. Fruits capsular, (2-) 3 (-4)-loculed, dehiscing into bivalved parts, tubercled, bristly, echinate. Seeds 3, ovoid to oblong or globose, black to red, ecarunculate.

Key to the species

Serial Key Reference
1a. Fruits indehiscent M. nudiflorus
1b. Fruits dehiscent 2
2a. Fruits smooth 3
2b. Fruits echinate or tubercles 4
3a. Leaves mostly twice as long as broad, stamens 15-30; fruits densely clothed with crimson-red resinous powder M. philippensis
3b. Leaves mostly as long as broad, stamens 40-80; fruits densely fulvous tomentose, no resious powder M. rependus
4a. Female calyx cauducous M. roxburghianus
4b. Female calyx persistent in fruit M. tetracoccus