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This is the sole member of the family to which it gives its name, and with the family Tetracentraceae constitutes the Order Trochodendrales. As in Tetracentron (q.v.) the structure of the wood is primitive, resembling that of the conifers. Flowers in an erect raceme-like terminal inflorescence, without sepals or petals (though the minute bracteoles at the apex of the pedicels may represent a much reduced perianth). Stamens numerous, their long filaments radiating from the base of a torus (expanded apex of the pedicel). Pistils sessile, in a single whorl, connate laterally, each with a sessile stigma and a single chamber containing numerous ovules, each pistil developing into a follicle dehiscing along the upper surface. The generic name literally means ‘wheel-tree’, from the manner in which the stamens radiate like the spokes of a wheel.
Euptelea, included in the Trochodendraceae by Dr Hutchinson, is by most botanists placed in a separate, also monotypic, family. On the other hand the genus Paracryphia, endemic to New Caledonia, is near to the Trochodendraceae.