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..
Trees or shrubs, with entire or dentate broad leaves, and small or middle-sized regular mostly yellow and perfect flowers, in lateral or axillary clusters. Calyx-tube completely or partly adnate to the ovary, its limb 5-lobed, the lobes imbricated in the bud. Corolla 5-parted, sometimes very nearly to the base, the segments imbricated. Disk none. Stamens numerous in several series, inserted on the base or tube of the corolla; filaments filiform, usually slightly united in clusters at the base of each corolla-segment; anthers innate, laterally dehiscent. Ovary 2-5-celled, inferior or partly superior; ovules commonly 2 in each cavity, pendulous; style one; stigma one. Fruit a small mostly nearly dry drupe, usually with 1 oblong seed; embryo straight; endosperm fleshy.
Only the following genus, comprising about 200 species, natives of America, Asia and Australasia, most abundant in South America. The following is the only known North American species.
Characters of the family. Type species: Symplocos martinicensis Jacq. [Greek, connected, referring to the stamens.]
Hopca tinctoria L. Mant. 105. 1767.
S. tinctoria L'Her. Trans. Linn. Soc. 1: 176. 1791.
A shrub or small tree, sometimes attaining a height of 35o and a trunk diameter of 9'. Leaves rather coriaceous, oblong or slightly obovate, acute or acuminate at both ends, crenate-serrate with low teeth or repand, short-petioled, puberulent or pubescent on both sides when young, glabrous or nearly so above and dark green when old, pale and persistently pubescent beneath, 3'-6' long, 1' - 3' wide, deciduous at the northern range of the species, persistent at the south, turning yellowish-green in drying; flowers bright yellow, fragrant, 4"-6" broad, in sessile scaly-bracted clusters, appearing at the north before the leaves; corolla almost polypetalous, its segments oblong, obtuse, each bearing a cluster of stamens; drupe dry, nut-like, oblong, 3"-6" long, pubescent, crowned with the small calyx lobes.