Deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs, rarely trailing or climbing by rootlets and often with 4-angled or corky-flanged branchlets. Leaves opposite, occasionally alternate or whorled. Flower clusters axillary. Flowers 4-5-parted, small, greenish to purplish, bisexual or functionally unisexual. Fruit a 3-5-valved capsule, seeds with a scarlet or orange bird-attracting aril.
Grown as border plants for the dense foliage, some deciduous species are especially colourful in autumn. The gender of this genus name has been in contention for some time; it is treated as male here.
177 species mostly from Asia but also Europe, N America and 2 species from Australia.
Seed or hardwood cuttings; cultivars may be grafted.
The wood of some species used for carving. E. europaeus wood is used for gunpowder.
Leaves opposite; fruit of 3-5 carpels with the seeds covered by a scarlet or orange aril.
Blakelock (1951), Lancaster (1981), N. Brown (1996).
Source: (2002). Celastraceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.