Family: Fagaceae — beech family
Species in the Fagaceae are trees or shrubs with simple, usually toothed and/or lobed leaves arranged alternately along the stem. The trees have separate pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing flowers. Both types of flowers usually grow on the same plant. Pollen-bearing flowers are usually grouped into a cylindrical inflorescence called an ament (also called a catkin), which may be upright or pendulous. The ovule-bearing flowers may grow alone or in small array. The flowers have no petals. The pollen-bearing flowers usually have 4-6 tepals and 6 to 12 stamens. Ovule-bearing flowers have 4-6 tepals, which attach above the ovary (i.e., the ovary is inferior). The fruit is a nut with a single seed, and is usually subtended by a cup-like seriers of bracts (the bracts are spiny in some genera).
This family’s genera in New England
Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key