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In some older treatments of the family, Berberidaceae only included four genera (Berberis, Epimedium, Mahonia, Vancouveria), with the other genera treated in separate families, Leonticaceae (Bongardia, Caulophyllum, Gymnospermium, Leontice), Nandinaceae (Nandina), and Podophyllaceae (Achlys, Diphylleia, Dysosma, Jeffersonia, Podophyllum, Ranzania).
Mahonia is very closely related to Berberis, and some botanists include it within Berberis. Species in the two genera can be hybridised, with the hybrids being classified in the hybrid genus × Mahoberberis.