Find the word definition


Alangium is a small genus of flowering plants. The genus is included either in a broad view of the dogwood family Cornaceae, or as the sole member of its own family Alangiaceae. Alangium has about 40 species, but some of the species boundaries are not entirely clear. The type species for Alangium is Alangium decapetalum, which is now treated as a subspecies of Alangium salviifolium. All of the species are shrubs or small trees, except the liana Alangium kwangsiense. A. chinense, A. platanifolium, and A. salviifolium are known in cultivation.

The genus consists of small trees, shrubs and lianas, and is native to western Africa, Madagascar, southern and eastern Asia ( China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines), tropical Australia, the western Pacific Ocean islands, and New Caledonia. Most of the species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of east and southeast Asia. Five of the species extend well outside of this area. Alangium platanifolium extends from east Asia into Russia. Alangium chinense ( sensu lato) extends from southeast Asia to Africa. Alangium salviifolium is the most widespread species, ranging from Africa to Australia, Fiji, and New Caledonia. Alangium villosum occurs from southeast Asia to Australia and the western Pacific Islands. Alangium grisolleoides is endemic to Madagascar and gives the genus a disjunct distribution.

Alangium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species in the Geometroidea-Drepanoidea assemblage including the Engrailed ( Geometridae) and the subfamily Cyclidiinae ( Drepanidae).

The name Alangium is a Latinization, derived from the Malayalam name Alangi, which, in Kerala, refers to Alangium salviifolium. It was named in 1783 by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in his Encyclopédie Méthodique.

The wood, fruit, and pollen of Alangium are distinctive. Fossils of Alangium have been recognized from the early Eocene of England and the middle Eocene of western North America. In former times, Alangium was far more widespread than it is today.