This family consists of 50 genera and 800 species (Carr)*. The family is mostly trees and shrubs and the flowers are rarely showy. Because of this, there are few ornamental species. Most plants are tropical except for the better known staff vines or bittersweets.
Systematics: This family is unique because of the giant nectary disk that seems to cover the ovaries. The only other large family that looks similar is the Rhamnaceae, which can be differentiated by the placement of the stamen in relation to the petals. In Celastraceae the stamen alternate with the petals, in Rhamnaceae the stamen are aligned directly with the petals. Most flowers are small and green to yellow.
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* Wikipedia lists 90-100 genera and 1,300 species.