Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, opposite or whorled (sometimes absent or nearly so), simple or 1-foliolate, margins toothed or entire; stipules small, usually early caducous, or absent. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, panicle, dichasial cyme or a solitary flower. Flowers regular, generally bisexual; sepals 4 or 5, free or basally fused, often valvate; petals 4 or 5, free or rarely united, often deeply fringed or lobed, valvate or imbricate, sometimes absent; stamens twice (or more than twice) as many as petals, usually free, borne on an enlarged disc or receptacle, anthers 2-celled, usually much longer than filaments, opening by more or less terminal slits or pores, connective often elongated; ovary superior, sessile, usually 2–many-celled; ovules 2–many per cell; style simple, sometimes lobed at tip. Fruit a drupe, capsule or berry.
Aristotelia chilensis has berries with medicinal properties; they are also used occasionally for wine production. The fruits and nuts of several Elaeocarpus species are edible. The wood of Sloanea and some Elaeocarpus species is used as timber. Tetratheca grown for the simple delicated flowers, sometimes in containers.
Petals when present often fringed; filaments often short, anthers usually opening by apical slits.
12 genera with c. 635 species mostly from the tropics and subtropics; 9 genera in Australia.
Coode (1984, 1985), Thompson (1976).
Now includes Tremandraceae. This treatment follows Stevens, P.F. (2018, Angiosperm Phylogeny Website).
Source: (1997). Elaeocarpaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, April 2018