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Ebenaceae Gürke, nom. cons.
the ebony family
The name is derived from the Latin ebenus (or, more correctly hebenus, as it comes originally from the Greek ‘εβενος, hebenos), the ebony tree, Diospyros ebenum. The family contains many trees prized for their timber or for fruit. Ebony is a dense black wood taken from several species of Diospyros, in particular D. tesselaria (Mauritius ebony), which was heavily exploited by the Dutch in the 17th century. There are also many shrubs included in the family. The leaves are usually alternate, and the inflorescence is usually a cyme. Most species are dioecious. The flower has 3 – 8 petals, joined at their bases. There are usually several single or paired stamens, often attached to the inner corolla wall. Female flowers have up to 8 stigmas. The calyx is persistent. Fruits are berry-like or capsular. Ebony wood is used to make, among other things, violin fingerboards and tuning pegs, the black keys on pianos, and black chess pieces.
Diospyros digyna (syn.) - Black Sapote
Diospyros ferrea var. geminata (syn.) - Queensland Ebony
Diospyros geminata (syn.) - Queensland Ebony
Diospyros nigra - Black Sapote
Diospyros vera - Queensland Ebony
Photographs via Wikimedia commons, under the Creative Commons Licence 3.0
Page last updated 23rd March 2018