Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- An important order of apetalous exogenous trees, including the oak, chestnut, beech, birch, etc. It is characterized by monœcious flowers, of which the staminate are in aments and the pistillate have an inferior or naked 2- to 6-celled ovary, the cells having one or two ovules. The order is divided into three tribes, each of which has been ranked as a distinct order: viz., Quercineæ (the Cupuliferæ of many authors), which have the fruit surrounded or inclosed in a scaly or spiny involucre or cup, as in the oak, chestnut, and beech; Coryleæ, with the bracts of the involucre foliaceous and more or less united, as in the hazel and hornbeam; and Betuleæ, which have the scale-like bracts imbricate in a spike and the nutlets small and flattened, as in the birch and alder. The 10 genera include about 400 species, distributed over the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.
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