Trees , to 12 m; crowns low, broad. Bark gray or light brown, scaly and flaky. Wood weak, brittle. Branches unarmed, spreading; twigs hirtellous when young, glabrate. Leaves: stipules falling early; petiole present. Leaf blade rhombic-ovate to ovate-oblong, base oblique to rounded or cuneate, margins unequally serrate, apex acute; venation pinnate. Inflorescences: staminate fascicles; pistillate solitary flowers or 2-3 together. Flowers normally unisexual, pedicellate, staminate and pistillate on same plants, a few bisexual flowers usually present; calyx deeply 4-5-lobed; stamens when present 4-5. Fruits nutlike, ellipsoid, with irregular, thickened ribs.
Polygamo-monoecious, the staminate fls in small fascicles from winter-buds, the fertile ones on short, slender pedicels from the axils of lvs of the season, sometimes lacking stamens; cal campanulate, with 4-5 rounded lobes; anthers extrorse; ovary short-stipitate; styles stout, divergently recurved; fr ellipsoid, drupe-like; embryo straight; woody plants with pinnately veined lvs. Monospecific
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.