shrubs or trees. Leaves alternate, lanceolate, ovate or elliptic, petioles
short, stipules simple, caducous. Inflorescence of simple catkin. Flowers
unisexual, sessile, subtended by a caducous bract. Perianth absent. Disc a
simple or bifid scale. Stamens 2-12, in most species 2, filaments long,
filiform, variously connate. Ovary superior, stipitate, 1-locular, ovules 4-8,
subbasal, styles short, 2-4 fid. Fruits 2-valved capsules, valves usually
rolled back, placenta near the base of the valves.