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If you live in the northern states then you may know the lilac already. Stop and take a closer look the next time you see one. The leaves are opposite in most members of the family, sometimes on squarish stems. The flowers are regular and bisexual. There are 4 united sepals and 4 united petals (may be lacking in Fraxinus), plus 2 stamens-an uncommon combination in the plant world. The ovary is positioned superior and consists of 2 united carpels (bicarpellate) with the partition walls present, forming 2 chambers. It matures as a capsule, a pair of winged seeds or sometimes as a berry or drupe (a fleshy fruit with a stoney pit).
Key Words: Trees or shrubs with opposite leaves and 4 sepals, 4 or 0 petals and 2 stamens.
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