Shrubs or trees with alternate, simple leaves and deciduous stipules. Flowers in heads or spikes, often polygamous or monoecious. Calyx adherent. Petals linear, valvate or convolute in bud or wanting. Stamens twice as many as petals (the opposite sterile and scale-like) or ∞. Ovary of 2-carpels, 2-celled and 2-styled, ovules 1 or ∞ in each cell Fruit a woody capsule, 2-beaked, 2-celled and 2-seeded.
Genera 14. species 20, widely diffused. Various species of Liquidambar yield the pungent re-sin called storax. Otherwise the products of this order are unimportant.
TRIBES AND GENERA. 1, Hamambleae. Flowers dichlamydeous. Ovule solitary in each cell. Calyx
4-parted; petals ligulate, long. Shrub...............................Hamamelis.
2. FOTHERGILLEae. Flowers monochlamydeous. Ovary solitary in each cell.
Cal.5 to 7-parted; petals 0;stamens ∞, Shurb .............
.... FOTHERGILLA. 2
3. Balsamifluae Flowers mostly achlamydeous. Ovuies several in each
cell. Calyx none; fls. monaeciouc, in globous aments ...........
1. HAMAME'LIS, L. Witch Hazel. (Gr. , with, , fruit; i. e, flowers and fruit together on the tree.) Calyx 4-leaved or cleft, with an involucel of 2 to 3 bracts at base; petals 4, very long, linear; sterile stamens scale-like, opposite the petals, alternating with the 4 fertile ones; capsule nut-like, 2-celled, 2-beaked. - Shrubs or small trees. Petals yellow.
H. VirginiÓna L. Lvs. oval or obovate, acuminate, crenate-dentate, obliquely cordate at base, on short petioles; fls. sessile, 3 to 4 together in an involuerate, axillary, subsessile glomerule. - U. S. and Can. A large shrub, consisting of several crooked, branching trunks from the same root, as large as the arm, and 10 to 12f high. Lvs. nearly smooth, 3 to 5' long, i as wide. Petioles 1/2' long. Cal. downy. Pet. curled or twisted, 9" long. Cap. woody, containing 2 nuts. This curious shrub is not unfrequent in our forests, and amidst the reigning desolations of winter puts forth its yellow blossoms. The small branches have been superstitiously used for "divining rods," to indicate the presence of the precious metals and of deep springs of water.
2. FOTHERGIL'LA, L. filius. (Dedicated by the younger Linnaeus to Dr. Fothergill.) Calyx campanulate, truncate and obscurely 5 to 7-toothed at the margin, bearing the 20 to 28 clavate filaments in a marginal row; petals none; styles 2, distinct; capsule adherent at base, 2-lobed, 2-celled, cells 2-valved, 1-seeded. - A shrub resembling an alder in its leaves and a witch-hazel in its fruit. Fls. white, appearing before the leaves, in a terminal dense spike or ament.
F. alnif˛lia L. f. Shady margins of swamps, Va. to Fla. Shrub 2 to 4f high, with virgate blossoms and stolons. Lvs. oval or obovate, somewhat crenate, pubescent beneath. Cal. white, fringed with the long white or pink stamens. Sty. long, filiform, recurved. Mar., Apr.
3. LIQUIDAM'BAR, L. Sweet Gum Tree. (Lat. liquidam, fluid, ambar, from its ambar-colored gum.) Involucre 4-parted, deciduous; ♂ ament conical; flowers naked, polyandrous; ♂ aments globous; calyx a scale if any ; styles 2, elongated ; fruit aggregate (sorosis § 581), globular, consisting of the hardened scales and woody, 2-celled capsules which open between the beaks ; ovules many, but only 1 or 2 maturing into a seed. - Trees with fragrant lvs. and exuding a balsamic resin.
L. styracÝfma L. Lvs. palmate, with acuminate, serrate lobes; veins villous at their bases. - A large and handsome tree, abundant in the swamps and higher grounds of the South, extending N. to Conn, and I1L With a diameter of 5f it arises to the height of 60. Trunk covered with a deeply furrowed bark. Young twigs yellowish, putting forth leaves of a rich green, which are deeply divided into 5 lobes more star-like than those of the Rock Maple. Fruit a globular, compact ball, suspended by a slender pedicel, consisting of numerous capsules, each containing 1 or 2 seeds. May.