Glochidion is a genus of over 300 species in Asia, Australia and the Pacific (Govaerts et al. 2000). It is closely related to (and perhaps should be merged with) the large genus Phyllanthus (Samuel et al. 2005), and the Madagascan species of Glochidion have been transferred into that genus (Hoffmann & McPherson 2003). Euphorbiaceae has itself been split into several smaller families based on DNA evidence (APG 2003). Glochidion species are monoecious or dioecious evergreen (rarely deciduous) trees and shrubs. The leaves are alternate, simple and arranged in two ranks. Stipules are thick, persistent and scale-like. Inflorescences are axillary fascicles. The flowers are pedicellate and have no petals. The fruit is a dehiscent capsule with three or more lobes divided by prominent grooves. The seeds bear a fleshy (often colourful) sarcotesta (Radcliffe-Smith 2001, Chang et al. 2005). Some species are pollinated by moths of the genus Epicephalus (Gracilariidae), which also lay their eggs in the style, allowing their caterpillars to consume some of the tree’s seed. Of the Glochidion species tested, each appears to have its own exclusive pollinator, and reproduction of either the tree or the moth is impossible in the absence of its partner (Kawakita et al. 2004).
Glochidion is almost unknown in temperate horticulture, yet as seen in North Carolina, G. triandrum at least is well worth growing. The shrubby G. wilsonii Hutchinson is in cultivation in the United States: at the Morris Arboretum it is marginally hardy and suffers winter dieback (A. Aiello, pers. comm. 2006).