Distribution of Santalaceae:
Santalaceae comprises of 26 genera and from 250 (Engler & Gilg) to 600 species (Rendle) and distributed throughout temperate and tropical regions.
Economic Importance of Santalaceae:
- Food: The fruits of Acanthosyris fulacata and Exocorpos cupressiform and tubers of Arjona tuberosa are edible.
- Flavour: An essential oil, distilled from the heart wood and roots of Santalum album are used in perfumery. The sawdust of heart wood is made into scented cakes and sticks to be burnt as incense. Roots of Santalum album are used in perfumery.
- Medicinal: The sandal wood ground up into a paste is commonly applied to local inflammation, to the temples in fever and to skin diseases to allay heat and pruvitus. The bitter wood is cooling, exhilling, antiseptic, diaphoretic, aphrodiasiae and useful in diseases of heart, thirst, biliouness, burning sensation, bronchitis, vaginal diseases etc.
- Timber: Colpoon compressum, Eucarya, Spicata, Santalum freycinetianum and S. yasi yield valuable wood. The heart wood of Santalum album is employed for boxes, combs, fancy articles, cabinet work, picture frames furnitures, etc.
- Ornamentals: Species of Buckleya and Pyrularia are cultivated as novelties.
Affinites of Santalaceae:
The Santalaceae is closely allied to Loranthaceae in some characters of perianth, ovary and seeds. The plants of Santalaceae are semi-parasitic or parasitic only in roots and those of Loranthaceae are aerial parasites. There is strong resemblance of Santalaceae in foliage and inflorescence of Myrtaceae (Richardson, 1978). Exocarpus (Manas, Ram, 1959) (member of Santalaceae) has a naked semi-inferior ovary with single, sessile naked ovule with pollen chamber resembling Gymnosperm, further, the ovule does not show any differentiation form necellus and embryosac.