This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", 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..
Bayberry Family. Shrubs or trees with alternate, mostly coriaceous and aromatic simple leaves and small monoecious or dioecious flowers, in linear, oblong or globular bracted aments. Flowers solitary in the axils of the bracts. Perianth none. Staminate flower with 2-16 (usually 4-8) stamens inserted on the receptacle; filaments short, distinct or somewhat united; anthers ovate, 2-celled, the sacs longitudinally dehiscent. Pistillate flowers with a solitary 1-celled ovary, subtended by 2-8 bractlets; ovule solitary, orthotropous; style very short; stigmas 2, linear. Fruit a small oblong or globose drupe or nut, the exocarp often waxy. Seed erect. Endosperm none. Cotyledons plano-convex. Radicle very short.
Two genera and 35 species of wide geographic distribution.
Ovary subtended by 2-4 bractlets; leaves serrate or entire, exstipulate.
Ovary subtended by 8 linear persistent bractlets; leaves pinnatifid, stipulate.