They are evergreen shrubs or small trees growing to 3–9 m tall, related to Ligustrum, Olea and Osmanthus. The leaves are in opposite pairs, small, leathery, ovate to lanceolate, 2–6 cm long and 0.5–2 cm broad. The flowers are small, greenish-white, produced in short clusters. The fruit is a drupe containing a single seed. The Phillyrea latifolia (aka Mock Privet) and Phillyrea angustifolia are both cited as being related to the Ash tree and thus susceptible to the fungus causing ash die-back. As a result may spread the disease.
- Phillyrea angustifolia L. - native to western and central Mediterranean Basin, Portugal to Albania.
- Phillyrea latifolia L. - native to entire Mediterranean Basin, Portugal to Syria.
A third species P. decora from the Caucasus is now usually treated in the genus Osmanthus as Osmanthus decorus. Over 200 other names have been proposed over the years, now considered synonyms of existing taxa.
- Lectotype designated by: Hitchcock, A. S. 1923. American Journal of Botany 10: 514.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Phillyrea
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