OLEACEAE Hoffmanns. & Link

Family composed of about 25 genera and about 688 species of trees and shrubs, sometimes lianas, distributed through almost all terrestrial ecosystems of the world, absent from the cold regions of the Northern Hemisphere. In North Africa, it is represented by 5 genera with tree and shrub species. The genus Olea appears through most of the region; genera Fraxinus, Ligustrum, Phillyrea and Jasminum appear only in the Mediterranean area.

Key to genera

1 Leaves compound, with 3-15 leaflets 2

1 Leaves simple 3

2 Trees with pinnate leaves (5-15 leaflets). Flowers minute, calyx and corolla not visible. Fruit in samara Fraxinus

2 Subshrub with trifoliolate leaves. Flowers large (15-20 mm), with green calyx and yellow corolla, very showy. Fruit soft Jasminum

3 Corolla hypocrateriform, with tube about the same size as lobes. Fruit soft Ligustrum

3 Corolla rotate or star-shaped, with tube much shorter than lobes. Fruit in drupe 4

4 Leaves densely covered with squamiform hairs on underside Olea

4 Leaves glabrous on underside Phillyrea

Updated by: M. Cueto, E. Giménez & J. Charco.