Herbs or bushes with radially symmetrical flowers that are solitary or arranged in clusters or racemes, and have 6 often petal-like sepals and 6-9 petals. The leaves are alternate. There are only a few species in our area.


The plants are typically small with very small, radially symmetrical, 4-petalled flowers distributed in branched clusters. The narrow smooth edged leaves are either opposite or in whorls. In the Gallium genus, the most important in this area, the stem is square and often bristly and the tiny flowers are in whorls.

The name bedstraw came about from the old use of these plants as straw for beds. Gardenias and coffee are two well known cultivated bedstraws. Quinine is made from the bark of the cinchona tree, another bedstraw family species.


Trees or bushes with alternate, simple, pinnately veined leaves that are mostly toothed or lobed. The tiny male and female flowers are on the same plant. Male flowers are in catkins; female flowers are in shorter catkins or clusters. The fruit is a 1 or more seeded nut. Includes the beeches (Fagus genus), with nuts that are sharply 3-angled; chestnuts (Castanea genus), with nuts flattened on 1 or 2 sides and enclosed in a prickly husk; and oaks (Quercus genus). The red/black oaks have bristle-tipped lobes, furrowed blackish bark, and acorns that mature the second year. White oaks do not have bristle-tipped lobes, the bark is light gray and acorns mature the first year.


A family of trees, bushes, vines and occasionally herbs, represented here by catalpas, trees with variable leaves, large, showy, bilaterally symmetrical flowers in clusters. The corolla is funnel- or bell-shaped with 5 somewhat irregular lobes. The fruit is a long, pod-like capsule that splits in 2 parts, releasing many winged, tufted seeds. Also includes Trumpet-creeper, a woody vine with large, trumpet-shaped flowers.


Trees and some bushes with alternate, simple and toothed leaves. The tiny male and female flowers are on the same plant, have no petals and sometimes no sepals. The male flowers are in drooping, slender catkins and the female flowers are in spikes or heads. Includes the birches (Betula genus), with fruits that are 1-seeded nuts in cone-like clusters (some have bark peeling in papery layers); hornbeams (Carpinus genus), with smooth, fluted bark and hanging clusters of bracts concealing nuts in their axils; hop-hornbeams (Ostrya genus), with shredding bark and small nuts enclosed in papery capsules; alders (Alnus genus) that characteristically have male and female catkins and mature seed-bearing cones present at the same time; and hazelnuts (Corylus genus), bushes with nuts enclosed in flattened, hairy green husks with ragged lower margins.


This family is mostly tropical and only a few species in two genera are found in this area, all herbs.

The reddish brown, radially or bilaterally symmetrical flowers have 3 petal-like sepals but no petals. The calyx is swollen and the tips of the 3 petal-like lobes flare out. The large alternate leaves are heart-shaped.


Bushes or trees with opposite, pinnately compound leaves. The small, radially symmetrical flowers have 5 petals, 5 sepals and 5 stamens. The fruit is a papery, inflated capsule.


The radially symmetrical flowers may have a bell-shaped corolla with 5 flaring lobes, or be flat with 5 separate petals. There are 5 sepals, 5 stamens and a single pistil. The style may be long and prominent and the stigma has several lobes. The alternate leaves are simple.


A family of evergreen trees, shrubs and herbs. The leaves are usually opposite and the small flowers are in clusters.


The small parasitic plants lack chlorophyll and derive nourishment by attaching suckers to the roots of the host plant. The only "leaves" are scales on the stem. The bilaterally symmetrical flowers are in spikes or racemes, or are solitary at the top of a slender stem. The yellow-brown, red or violet corolla has 5 lobes in 2 lips.


Bushes, woody vines or trees with usually alternate, un-lobed leaves. The small, greenish-yellow flowers are in clusters along the twigs. There is a cup-like 4- or 5-part calyx, 4 or 5 narrow concave petals and 4 or 5 stamens.


The small, inconspicuous flowers have no petals and are arranged in spikes, racemes, or heads. The alternate leaves are not toothed. The stem joints are swollen and surrounded by characteristic papery sheaths.

Buckwheat and rhubarb are members of this family.


Bur-reeds are aquatic or marsh plants with narrow, reed-like leaves. The tiny flowers are in globular masses along the stem or on short stalks from upper leaf-axils. Male flowers heads are always above the female ones on the stem. Flowers have no petals but there are a few scale-like bracts as well as stamens or a pistil. Fruits are small seeds or nutlets in the bur-like heads. Only 1 genus and a few species occur in temperate areas.


The flowers are usually radially symmetrical and the number of sepals and petals is highly variable. Numerous stamens form the bushy center of the flower. The leaves are usually alternate, often palmately lobed, but can be pinnately compound or simple. Virgin''s bower is a climbing vine. Some species are poisonous.