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Hamamelidaceae R. Brown

Witch-hazel Family

Frederick G. Meyer

Trees or shrubs , deciduous; pubescence stellate or sometimes simple. Dormant buds naked or scaly. Leaves alternate, simple, petiolate; stipules early deciduous. Leaf blade unlobed or deeply (3-)5-7-lobed, pinnately or palmately veined. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, capitate or spicate to ± racemose, bracteate. Flowers bisexual or unisexual; perianth epigynous, 1-2-seriate, 4-5-merous, often reduced or absent, hypanthium present; calyx persistent, 4-5(-7)-lobed, or absent; petals distinct or absent; stamens 4-34; anthers basifixed, latrorse, 2-locular, longitudinally dehiscent by simple slit or by 1-2 vertical valves; pistil 1, 2-carpellate; ovary half-inferior, 2-locular; placentation axile; ovules 1(-2) in each locule and apical, or many, anatropous, pendent; styles and stigmas persistent, 2 each, erect or contorted and recurved. Fruits capsular, with leathery exocarp and bony endocarp, loculicidal and 2-seeded or septicidal with most of many seeds per locule aborted; 1-2 viable seeds per locule ( Liquidambar ). Seeds fusiform, bony, lustrous, hilum apical, light colored, or seeds winged, hilum lateral ( Liquidambar ).

Genera ca. 31, species ca. 100 (3 genera, 5 species in the flora): temperate to tropical regions, e North America, Mexico, Central America, e Asia, Africa (including Madagascar), Pacific Islands, and Australia.


Bogle, A. L. 1970. Floral morphology and vascular anatomy of the Hamamelidaceae: The apetalous genera of Hamamelidoideae. J. Arnold Arbor. 51: 310-366. Britton, N. L. 1905. Hamamelidaceae. In: N. L. Britton et al., eds. 1905+. North American Flora.... 47+ vols. New York. Vol. 22, pp. 185-187. Endress, P. K. 1987. Aspects of evolutionary differentiation of the Hamamelidaceae and the lower Hamamelidae. Pl. Syst. Evol. 162: 193-211. Endress, P. K. 1989. A suprageneric taxonomic classification of the Hamamelidaceae. Taxon 38(3): 371-376. Endress, P. K. 1989b. Phylogenetic relationships in the Hamamelidoideae. In: P. R. Crane and S. Blackmore, eds. 1989. Evolution, Systematics, and Fossil History of the Hamamelidae. 2 vols. Oxford. Vol. 1, pp. 227-248. [Syst. Assoc. Special Vol. 40A, B.] Ernst, W. R. 1963. The genera of Hamamelidaceae and Platanaceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 44: 193-210. Godfrey, R. K. 1988. Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Northern Florida and Adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, Ga. Goldblatt, P. and P. K. Endress. 1977. Cytology and evolution in Hamamelidaceae. J. Arnold Arbor. 58: 67-71.

1 Trees with simple hairs; leaf blade palmately (3-)5(-7)-lobed and - veined; flowers unisexual, terminal, the staminate in ± racemose heads, each head a clustered mass of numerous stamens, pistillate inflorescences many flowered; capsules septicidal, fused at base into long-pedunculate, globose, echinate heads; viable seeds winged, most seeds aborted.   3 Liquidambar
+ Shrubs or small trees with stellate pubescence; leaf blade unlobed, pinnately veined; flowers bisexual, in axillary, few-flowered clusters or in many-flowered, elongate spikes; capsules loculicidal, not fused into heads; viable seeds not winged.   (2)
2 (1) Inflorescences axillary, (1-)3(-5)-flowered clusters; calyx lobes 4, reflexed; petals 4, liguliform, yellow or reddish, deep red to orange; stamens 4, very short; staminodes 4; capsules solitary or 2-3 together.   1 Hamamelis
+ Inflorescences terminal, elongate, many-flowered spikes; calyx lobes 5-7(-9), erect; petals absent; stamens 12-34; filaments white, 4-17 mm; staminodes absent; capsules in groups of more than 3.   2 Fothergilla

Lower Taxa


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