In India there are about 8 genera and 44 species occurring in most parts chiefly in Assam.
Trees or shrubs, often climbing. Some of the climbers are twinning and others climb with the help of the hooks which are persistent bases of the petioles. The plants are usually rich in tannin.
The leaves are alternate or rarely subopposite or opposite,simple or rarely trifoliate as in Illigera and exstipulate.
Inflorescence and flowers:
The flowers are usually sessile and are born in racemose inflorescences which are often panicled.
The flowers are bisexual or rarely unisexual , actinomorphic, usually pentamerous and epigynous.
The calyx is typically of five sepals which are united to form a tube. The corolla is of five petals alternating with sepals. Sometimes the petals are absent in Terminalia and Anogeissus.The stamens are twice as many as petals ,in two alternate whorls. The filaments are inflexed in buds. The anthers are versatile, dithecous. The gynoecium has inferior ovary which is unilocular with two to six anatropous ovules. The style is one with a simple stigma.
A nectariferous disc is present on the summit of the ovary.
Fruits and seeds:
The fruit is dry or mdrupaceous, generally indehiscent, angular or more often winged.
The seed is one and without endosperm.
Pollination and Seed dispersal
Pollination is by insects visiting for nectar. In combretum by humming birds and even butterflies.
The fruits are dispersed by water and by wind.
Terminalia. An exclusively tropical genus and about a dozen species occur in India.
Terminalia catappa (Indian almond) is largely cultivated in India for its edible nuts.
Many species such as T.alata(syn.T.tomentosa)T.panniculata,T.bialata, T. catappa and T. myricarpa provide valuable timber largely useful in construction work.
Fruits of many Terminalia such as T.bellerica T. arjuna ,T.glabra have medicinal values and figure in international commerce.
Quisqualis indica L.(Rangoon creeper) cultivated for ornamental purposes throughout India.