Trees or shrubs, resiniferous. Leaves alternate or rarely opposite, odd-pinnate, 3-foliolate (or rarely 1-foliolate), stipulate or exstipulate. Inflorescence racemose or paniculate. Flowers regular, small, unisexual or bisexual, often polygamous. Calyx 3-6-lobed, imbricate or valvate. Petals 3-6, free or rarely connate, imbricate or valvate. Disk annular or cupular, usually conspicuous. Stamens as many as or 2 × as many as petals, inserted at base or margin of disk, equal or unequal; filaments free, rarely connate at base; anthers dorsifixed or rarely adnate, 2-thecate, dehiscing longitudinally. Ovary superior, usually 2-5-celled; ovules 2 or rarely 1 in each cell, usually anatropous, axile, pendulous or rarely ascending, micropyle superior, raphe adaxial; style simple; stigma undivided or 2-5-lobed. Fruit drupaceous, indehiscent, containing 2-5 pyrenes, or rarely pseudocapsular and dehiscent. Seeds solitary, exalbuminous; testa membranous; cotyledons usually membranous, contortuplicate, rarely fleshy and planoconvex; radicle superior.
About 16 genera and 550 species: tropical regions of both hemispheres; three genera and 13 species (two endemic) in China.
Li Hen. 1997. Burseraceae. In: Chen Shukun, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 43(3): 17-33.