Aleurites is a small genus of arborescent flowering plants in the Euphorbiaceae, first described as a genus in 1776. It is native to China, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Papuasia, and Queensland. It is also reportedly naturalized on various islands (Pacific and Indian Oceans, plus the Caribbean) as well as scattered locations in Africa, South America, and Florida.
The leaves are alternate, lobate, ovate to ovate-lanceolate with minute stipules. They are pubescent on both sides when young, but in a later stage they become glabrous.
The inflorescence consists of terminal plumes of small, creamy white bell-shaped fragrant flowers, branching from the base. The flowers are usually bisexual, with a solitary pistillate flower at the end of each major axis. The lateral cymes are staminate. There are five or six imbricate petals. The staminate flowers are mostly longer and thinner than the pistillate flowers, with 17-32 glabrous stamens in four whorls. The pistillate flowers have a superior ovary.
The name Aleurites is derived from a Greek word meaning "wheaten flour", because of the appearance of the lower surface of the leaf.
Taxonomy and nomenclature
Linnaeus assigned the Latin feminine grammatical gender to the genus name Aleurites, as for example in the species name Aleurites moluccanus. The current International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants has standardized all genus names ending in -ites to use the masculine gender, so the correct name of the species Aleurites moluccanus.
The most widespread species is the Candlenut (Aleurites moluccanus), occurring from tropical Asia, the Pacific, from India to China and Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand. Some botanists only recognize two species, Aleurites moluccanus and Aleurites rockinghamensis.
- Aleurites moluccanus (L.) Willd. – Indian walnut, candlenut tree, country walnut, aburagiri, ama - most of genus range
- Aleurites rockinghamensis (Baill.) P.I.Forst. - Papua New Guinea, Queensland
- formerly included
- A. cordatus - Vernicia cordata
- A. erraticus - Omphalea papuana
- A. fordii - Vernicia fordii
- A. japonicus - Vernicia cordata
- A. laccifer - Croton laccifer
- A. montanus - Vernicia montana
- A. peltatus - Mallotus peltatus
- A. saponarius - Reutealis trisperma
- A. trispermus - Reutealis trisperma
- A. vernicifluus - Vernicia cordata
- A. vernicius - Vernicia montana
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- "Genus: Aleurites J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- Forster, Johann Reinhold & Forster, Johann Georg Adam. 1775. Characteres Generum Plantarum 111, pl. 56
- Tropicos, Aleurites J.R. Forst. & G. Forst.
- Govaerts, R., Frodin, D.G. & Radcliffe-Smith, A. (2000). World Checklist and Bibliography of Euphorbiaceae (and Pandaceae) 1-4: 1-1622. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- Flora of China Page 265 石栗属 shi li shu Aleurites J. R. Forster & G. Forster, Char. Gen. Pl. 111. 1776.
- "USDA GRIN Taxonomy".
- McNeill, J.; Barrie, F.R.; Buck, W.R.; Demoulin, V.; Greuter, W.; Hawksworth, D.L.; Herendeen, P.S.; Knapp, S.; Marhold, K.; Prado, J.; Prud'homme Van Reine, W.F.; Smith, G.F.; Wiersema, J.H.; Turland, N.J. (2012). International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Melbourne Code) adopted by the Eighteenth International Botanical Congress Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. Regnum Vegetabile 154. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag KG. ISBN 978-3-87429-425-6. Article 62.4
- "GRIN Species Records of Aleurites". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- Stuppy, W.; P.C. van Welzen; P. Klinratana; M.C.T. Posa (1999). "Revision of the genera Aleurites, Reutealis and Vernicia (Euphorbiaceae)". Blumea 44: 73–98.