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Dipteronia brownii Samara SRIC 01.jpg
Fossil D. brownii samara
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Subfamily: Hippocastanoideae
Genus: Dipteronia
Dipteronia sinensis

Dipteronia is a genus of two living and one extinct[1] species, regarded in the soapberry family Sapindaceae sensu lato after Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG I 1998, APG II 2003) and more recently (Harrington et al. 2005) [2])or traditionally by several authors in Aceraceae, related to the maples.

They are deciduous flowering shrubs or small trees, reaching 10-15 m tall. The leaf arrangement is opposite and pinnate. The inflorescences are paniculate, terminal or axillary. The flowers have five sepals and petals; staminate flowers have eight stamens, and bisexual flowers have a two-celled ovary. The fruit is a rounded samara containing two compressed nutlets, flat, encircled by a broad wing which turns from light green to red with ripening.

There are only two living species, Dipteronia sinensis and Dipteronia dyeriana; both are endemic to mainland China. Dipteronia dyeriana is listed by the IUCN as being a "Red List" threatened species. Dipteronia browni is an extinct species from the early Eocene Klondike Mountain Formation of Washington, and is also known from early Eocene sites in British Columbia Canada such as Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park and the McAbee Fossil Beds.

The name Dipteronia stems from the Greek "di-" (two, both) & "pteron" (wings), from the winged fruits with wings on both sides of the seed.


  1. ^ McClain, Amy, M & Manchester, Steven R. (2001). Dipteronia (Sapindaceae) from the Tertiary of North America and implications for the phytogeographic history of the Aceroideae. American Journal of Botany 88(7):1316-1325
  2. ^ Harrington, M. G., K. J. Edwards, S. A. Johnson, M. W. Chase, and P. A. Gadek. 2005. Phylogenetic inference in Sapindaceae sensu lato using plastid matK and rbcL DNA sequences. Systematic Botany 30: 366-382 (abstract here).


  • Qiu, Ying-Xiong; Luo, Yu-Ping; Comes, Hans Peter; Ouyang, Zhi-Qin; Fu, Cheng-Xin (2007). Population genetic diversity and structure of Dipteronia dyerana (Sapindaceae), a rare endemic from Yunnan Province, China, with implications for conservation. Taxon 56(2):427-437.