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The male inflorescences hang down from between the bud-scales as simple catkin-like spikes, each bearing about a dozen flowers. Each male flower springs

Fig. 31.—A sprig of oak in May, with the pendent male catkin below, and the minute spikes of female flowers just showing above. (Th. Hartig.)

from the axil of a tiny scale-like bract, and consists of a shallow perianth, unequally divided into about five to seven small linear-lanceolate lobes, inclosing about five to twelve stamens; there is no trace of an ovary. The number of lobes of the perianth varies, as also does the number of stamens; the former are covered with short hairs.