This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
A small order of trees and shrubs with a milky juice, closely related to our native Stinging-Nettles, and sometimes considered as forming a tribe of the same family. Leaves alternate, simple, entire or lobed, often rough to the touch, and provided with large convolute stipules. Flowers unisexual, inconspicuous, usually arranged in dense spikes, heads, or catkins. Male flowers with or without a perianth and 3 or 4 stamens. Female flowers with a 3- to 5-lobed or -partite inferior perianth. Fruit composed of 1-seeded nuts or utricles covered by the succulent perianth, collected in heads or enclosed in a fleshy receptacle. The genus Ficus constitutes the great bulk of this order; its species occurring in great abundance in the tropics. There are about a dozen genera and 250 species, none of which are indigenous in Europe.