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The Birch family includes deciduous trees and shrubs with simple, toothed, alternate leaves, with neatly pinnate veins. Male and female catkins form separately on the same bush (monoecious). Staminate (male) catkins have small flowers with either 0 or 4 sepals, 0 petals and 2 to 20 stamens. Pistillate (female) catkins also have numerous small flowers, each with 0 sepals and 0 petals. The catkins include bracts (modified leaves) that may be mistaken for sepals. The ovary is positioned inferior (some cannot be determined) and consists of 2 united carpels (bicarpellate) forming a single chamber. It matures as a nut or a winged seed.
Key Words: Trees or shrubs with cone-like catkins or nuts with attached bracts.
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