Concept

Alphitonia

Summary
Alphitonia is a genus of arborescent flowering plants comprising about 20 species, constituting part of the buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae). They occur in tropical regions of Southeast Asia, Oceania and Polynesia. These are large trees or shrubs. In Australia, they are often called "ash trees" or "sarsaparilla trees". This is rather misleading however; among the flowering plants, Alphitonia is not closely related to the true ash trees (Fraxinus of the asterids), and barely at all to the monocot sarsaparilla vines (Smilax). The name is derived from Greek álphiton (ἄλφιτον, "barley-meal"), from the mealy quality of their fruits' mesocarps. Another interpretation is that "baked barley meal" alludes to the mealy red covering around the hard cells in the fruit. The lanceolate coriaceous leaves are alternate, about 12 cm long. The margins are smooth. Venation is pinnate. They have white to rusty complex hairs on the under surface. The petiole is less than a quarter the length of a blade
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