Family composed of 54 genera and about 940 species of subshrubs (rarely shrubs, lianas or herbaceous plants), with a cosmopolitan distribution. In North Africa it is represented by 2 genera, largely composed of shrubby and subshrubby species. A peculiar characteristic of the species of this family in the region is their perianth, consisting of a single subtubular whorl. This structure has been called a perigon, floral tube, calyx tube or calyx, but according to recent anatomical studies (Bunninger, 1972), it should be called a hypanthium; the latter has been already used in some studies such as in Flora iberica (Feliner Nieto, 1997).

Bunninger. L. 1972. Untersuchungen liber die morphologische Natur des Hypanthiums bei Myrtales und Thymelaeales-Familien. II. Myrtaceae. III. Vergleich mit den Thymelaeaceae. Beitrage zur Biologie der Pflanzen 48: 79-156.

Key to genera

1 Flowers fragrant. Fruit berry-shaped (fleshy pericarp), free Daphne

1 Flowers not fragrant. Fruit dry, rarely somewhat fleshy, inside the membranous and persistent hypanthium Thymelaea

Updated by: H. Sainz.