In Family Lythraceae, there are 50 to 55 species native to India, Asia and Australia.
They range from 30 cm high shrubs up to 30 m trees.
Most are small to medium multi-stemmed shrubs or small trees.
They can be evergreen or deciduous.
The bark peels leaving mottled trunks and branches.
Young stems are 3 or 4 sided and can be smooth to densely hairy.
The simple, opposite, ovate leaves can be up to 20 cm long.
In deciduous species the leaves colour before they fall.
Stipules are absent or they are tiny and fall off early.
Terminal or axillary inflorescences are branched clusters of flowers.
The small bracts and bracteoles fall off early.
Flowers typically have parts in 6’s but there can be some in 5’s and 7’s.
There is a funnel or bell-shaped hypanthium that may be ribbed and coloured.
On the rim are the 6 (to 9) triangular sepal lobes.
There may be a narrow ridge or annulus on the base of the lobes inside.
There may be appendages (auricles or epicalyx segments) between the lobes.
The 6 (to 9) petals attach to the rim of the hypanthium between the sepal lobes.
They have a long thin clawed base and a crumpled or wrinkled blade.
They can be white or any shade of pink, red or purple.
There are 12 (6 – many) stamens that insert at or near the base of the hypanthium.
In most species the stamens are of different lengths.
When unequal the outer 6 are larger with thicker filaments and larger anthers.
The shorter inner ones have thin filaments and small anthers.
Pollen from the small stamens may be infertile.
The filaments may be twisted.
The superior globose or oblong ovary typically has 6 (4 or 5) locules.
The long, thin, bent style has a small stigma.
The fruit is a capsule that ripens from green to dry, dark brown or black.
Flower parts remain at the base.
It is a loculicidal capsule (splits into the cavities not along the sutures between them).
Each cavity holds a number of seeds with wings at one end.