STYRACACEAE

The Styracaceae are a small family of flowering plants in the order Ericales, containing 12 genera and about 160 species of trees and shrubs. The family occurs in warm temperate and subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

The family is characterized by spirally arranged simple leaves with no stipules; symmetrical white flowers with a corolla of two to five (sometimes seven) fused petals; and the fruit usually is a dry capsule, sometimes winged, less often a fleshy drupe, with one or two seeds.

Most are large shrubs to small trees 3–15 m tall, but Halesia monticola (H. carolina var. monticola) is larger, with trees 39 m tall known in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

Several genera include species popular as ornamental trees valued for their decorative white flowers. Benzoin resin, used in herbal medicine and perfumes, is extracted from the bark of Styrax species.

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