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Trees or rarely shrubs. Flowers white or yellowish, usually unisexual but occasionally polygamous, in axillary cymes, females usually solitary. Male flowers with 3 to many stamens, free. Female flowers with superior ovary, 2-16 locular; styles 1-5; stigmas 1-4; staminodes 0-16. Fruits globose, indehiscent, fleshy, dry or woody, 1 to many-seeded. Seeds compressed, endosperm ruminate or smooth.

Key to the species

Serial Key Reference
1a. Female flowers usually solitary 2
1b. Female flowers in many flowered cymes 7
2a. Corolla of male flowers glabrous 3
2b. Corolla of male flowers hirsute, pubescent or tomentose 5
3a. Leaves membranous, softly pubescent. Stamens 16 - 24 D. kaki
3b. Leaves coriaceous, glabrous 4
4a. Calyx in bud globular and cleft, and the lobes connate, but afterwards rupturing irregularly into 2 – 3 lobes; ovary hairy, 4- (rarely 6-) celled; fruit ellipsoidal, villous, but at length glabrous D. toposia
4b. Calyx in bud not closed, in the male short, subtruncately 4-toothed, in the female large, deeply 4-lobed; ovary glabrous, 8-celld; fruit sub-globose, glandular or rusty D. malabarica
5a. Corolla of male flowers hirsute. Leaves membranous, more or less hairy D. stricta
5b. Corolla of male flowers not as above 6
6a. Corolla of male flowers pubescent or glabrous outside. Leaves thinly chartaceous, tomentose D. montana
6b. Corolla of male flowers rusty silky. Stamens 32, tomentose D. lanceifolia
7a. Corolla fleshy. Fruit large as an orange D. ramiflora
7b. Corolla not as above 8
8a. Male and female flowers solitary; stamens 12 D. pilosiuscula
8b. Male flowers in axillary cymes, female flowers solitary, sub- sessile 9
9a. Male flowers in 3-7 flowered axillary cymes; fruit hairy D. discolor
9b. Male flowers in small cymes or in clusters; fruit smooth D. nigricans