This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Glabrous shrubs, or small trees, with simple entire thick alternate exstipulate leaves, long-persistent or evergreen, and small regular perfect bracted racemose flowers. Sepals 4-8 (mostly 5), persistent. Petals the same number as the sepals, hypogynous, distinct, or slightly united by their bases, deciduous. Stamens 4-10, in 1 or 2 series, distinct, hypogynous; anthers introrse, 2-celled, the sacs longitudinally dehiscent. Ovary 2-5-celled; ovules 1-4 in each cavity, anatropous, pendulous; style short or none; stigma very small, or 2-3-lobed. Fruit dry, small, 1-5-seeded. Seeds oblong or spindle-shaped; endosperm fleshy; embryo central, cylindric.
Three genera and about 12 species, natives of America.