Monoecious trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, simple, doubly serrate, prominently nerved, stipulate. Flowers precocious. Male flowers in catkins, solitary in the axil of bract; bracteoles 2, adnate to the bract; stamens 4-8. Female flowers 2-4, in short bud-like spikes, bracteolate; perianth small with irregular lobes, adnate to the ovary; carpels 2. united; ovary inferior with 1 pendulous ovule in each locule; styles 2, red. Fruit a nut, ovoid or sub-globose, surrounded by an involucre. Seed non-endospermic.