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).
Temperate to tropical regions, e North America, Mexico, Central America, e Asia, Africa (including Madagascar), Pacific Islands, and Australia.
Genera ca. 31, species ca. 100 (3 genera, 5 species in the flora).
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.]
|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.||Liquidambar|
|1||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||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.||Hamamelis|
|2||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.||Fothergilla|