Shrubs or small trees; branches pubescent when young. Leaves opposite, petiolate, membranous, restricted to new growth at apex of stems; domatia present as white hairy tufts in axils of nerves; stipules interpetiolar, ovate-triangular, with colleters and silky hairs inside. Flowers bisexual, precocious, solitary, terminal on short lateral branches (but may be exceeded by the development of an axillary branch), sessile, large. Calyx 6-8-ribbed, covered with very short fleshy hairs when young, which soon erode to reveal a rather flaky corky underlayer; tube campanulate; limb entire in bud, acuminate, rupturing into 2 or 3 lobes at anthesis, densely covered with silky hairs with large interspersed colleters inside. Corolla: tube short in proportion to the lobes, cylindric to funnel-shaped; lobes 8-11, narrowly oblong, spreading, overlapping to the right in bud (as seen from outside). Stamens: anthers 8-11, sessile, attached near base, inserted at throat, exserted, +/- two-thirds the length of the corolla lobes, linear, shortly acuminate; pollen grains simple. Disc annular. Ovary 4-locular (or ? incompletely so); septa thinly membranous, adhering to the placentas; placentas 4, elongate, fleshy, attached at apex to base of style; ovules many, impressed on placentas; style slightly swollen, glabrous; stigmatic club exserted, cylindric, 2-winged, bifid at apex with each lobe emarginate. Fruit large, globular, smooth, 1-locular; calyx limb caducous; pericarp thick. Seeds many, embedded in pulpy placental tissue, sublenticular; testa very thin, finely rugulose; endosperm entire, horny; embryo straight.
Monotypic genus: Phellocalyx vollesenii Bridson, tropical E Africa; sthn trop. Afr. Malawi, Mozambique.
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