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The genip-trees (Genipa), are a genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae. This genus is closely allied to Gardenia; several Gardenia species were originally placed in Genipa. It is not to be confused with genip (Melicoccus bijugatus), a completely unrelated eudicot. The name is derived from genipapo, the Guianan name for G. americana (commonly known as Huito). The genus is also commonly called jagua, xagua or xaqua.
Most authors today restrict Genipa to the New World species, transferring the Old World species to other genera. The ten species from Madagascar, originally described by Drake, are referred to as Genipa sensu Drake. They do not belong to the Rubiaceae tribe Gardenieae like the New World Genipa species and their Australasian relatives, but in the tribe Octotropideae. The Genipa species sensu Drake are better placed in the otherwise South African genus Hyperacanthus. Other species are now in Randia, and a number of additional genera. Altogether, a mere 3 species are nowadays included in Genipa; even of the Neotropical taxa, many are now included in the widespread and variable G. americana.
Genip trees are shrubs and medium-sized (up to 18 m tall) trees, native to tropical regions of the Americas.
The bark is mostly smooth and gray. The dense foliage consists of opposite leaves that are sessile or with short peduncles . They are mostly clustered at the tips of the branches. The leathery leaves have an oblanceolate, elliptic or obovate shape . The ovate and acuminate stipules are interpetiolar, fused at base.
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