Named for the Gentleman botanists, Jacob Breyne (1637–97) a merchant of Danzig, Germany, and his son, Johann Breyne (1680–1764), physician of Danzig, Germany.
Shrubs or small trees, male and female flowers on the same plant or not, perennial; stems and foliage without latex. Indumentum of simple, multicellular hairs, but often hairless. Stipules entire, inconspicuous, soon shed. Leaves alternate, stalked, unlobed, penninerved, without glands; margins entire. Inflorescences axillary, with 1 or several flowers in bracted clusters. Male flowers stalked; calyx lobes overlapping, 6, partially fused; petals absent; disk absent; stamens 3, united into a short column. Female flowers stalked; calyx lobes 6, overlapping; petals absent; disk absent; ovary 3-chambered, ovules 2 per chamber; styles 3, free, simple or divided into 2. Fruits capsular, dehiscent, 3-lobed, surface smooth. Seeds 3-angled, ecarunculate.
Cuttings or seeds.
Male flowers with calyx lobes overlapping, 6, partially fused; petals absent; disk absent; stamens 3, united into a short column. Female flowers with calyx lobes 6, overlapping; petals absent; disk absent.
About 25 species in Asia, Malesia, Australia and Melanesia. There are 3 species native to Australia. 1 exotic species is commonly cultivated.
Airy Shaw (1980), Radcliffe-Smith (1987, 1996).
Source: (2002). Euphorbiaceae. 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.