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Native Plant Trust: Go Botany Discover thousands of New England plants

Family: Celastraceae — spindle tree family

Species in the Celastraceae are woody shrubs or lianas with opposite or alternate leaves. The leaves are simple and sometimes toothed around the margin. The flowers are in branched arrays, which grow either from the point where leaves attach to the stem or at the ends of branches. The flowers are actinomorphic (radially symmetrical), and may have either pollen-bearing or ovule-bearing parts or both. Flowers are 4- to 5-merous, with small sepals and unfused petals that attach below the ovary (i.e., the ovary is superior). There is one ovary with a short style. The fruit is a drupe or a capsule that splits open to release the seeds; the seeds are notable for their brightly colored, red or orange arils.

This family’s genera in New England

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key