The type-genus Botryopteris, represented in the Permo-Carboniferous of France and in both the Lower and Upper Carboniferous of Great Britain, had a rhizome, with a very simple monostelic structure, bearing spirally arranged compound leaves, with lobed pinnules, probably of a somewhat fleshy texture.
Thus in Campanula a five-cleft stigma indicates five carpels; in Bignoniaceae, Scrophulariaceae and Acanthaceae, the two-lobed or bilamellar stigma indicates a bilocular ovary.
Female flowers in pairs, the bracts enlarging in the fruit to form a membranous cup (hazel), or a flat three-lobed structure (hornbeam).
In height, and as it grows becoming branched, and furnished with alternate sessile leaves, which are stem-clasping, oblong, unequally-lobed, clothed with glandular clammy hairs, and of a dull grey-green, the whole plant having a powerful nauseous odour.
These contain three stamens with thread-like filaments and oblong, two-lobed anthers.