The laurel family consists of shrub or tree species with aromatic leaves that have entire or lobed (but not toothed) blades. They are alternately arranged. The flowers are actinomorphic (radially symmetrical) and are arranged in branching clusters that grow from the junction of the leaf and branch. The flowers of our species have either pollen-bearing or ovule-bearing parts, but not both, with the two types of flowers growing on separate plants. The ovule-bearing flowers have yellow tepals forming two cycles of three parts. Pollen-bearing flowers in our species have 9 stamens, with the anthers opening to shed pollen by uplifting flaps. The ovule-bearing flowers have 1 carpel. The fruit is a drupe.
This Family’s Genera in New England:
Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key