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Family: Clethraceae — white alder family

Species in the Clethraceae are shrubs with deciduous, simple, toothed leaves that are alternately arranged. Only one species in this family occurs in New England. The flowers are white and fragrant, and arranged in a raceme in which the axis of the raceme is covered with branched hairs. The flowers have both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts, with 5 petals and 5 sepals that attach below the ovary (i.e., the ovary is superior), along with the 10 stamens. The single style supports a 3-lobed stigma. The fruit is a dry capsule shaped like a ball or sphere that splits to release the seeds.

This family’s genera in New England

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key