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..
Consists of the following genus:
Shrubs or small trees, with simple alternate petioled deciduous leaves, no stipules, and small white flowers in terminal narrow racemes. Calyx-tube obconic or campanulate, 5-lobed, its base adnate to the ovary. Petals 5, linear, their apices inflexed. Stamens 5, inserted on the disk. Ovary 2-celled; style slender; stigma 2-grooved in our species; ovules few or numerous. Capsule oblong or narrowly conic, 2-valved, several-many-seeded. Seeds narrow, flattish, the testa produced at each end. [Greek for willow, which its leaves somewhat resemble.]
About 5 species, natives of the eastern United States and Asia. The following typical species is the only one known to occur in North America.
Itea virginica L. Sp. Pl. 199. 1753.
A shrub 4°-10° high, the twigs and inflorescence finely pubescent. Leaves short-petioled, narrowly oval, oblanceolate or rarely obovate, 1'-3' long, acute or acuminate at the apex, narrowed at the base, sharply serrulate, glabrous, or with a few hairs along the veins beneath; racemes terminal, dense, 2'-6' long; flowers short-pedicelled; petals linear, erect or slightly spreading, about 2 1/2" long; capsule 2-grooved, 2"-3" long, pubescent, narrow, tipped with the persistent at length 2-parted style.