Evergreen shrubs or small trees with small simple glabrous serrulated leaves and inconspicuous bisexual greenish-yellow flowers borne in axillary clusters. Fruit a 1- or 2-celled 1- or 2-seeded berry. The few species known inhabit the shores of the Mediterranean. Named from 1 Phillyrea 277 a leaf, in allusion to the ornamental foliage.

1. Ph. latifolia. - An exceedingly ornamental compact-growing shrub with cordate-ovate or oblong sharply serrulated coriaceous shining leaves. Ph. angustifolia is distinguished by its linear-lanceolate nearly entire leaves; and Ph. media by its ovate-lanceolate or oblong sharp-pointed leaves. But there are several intermediate forms in cultivation under various names; as, ilicifolia, salicifolia, rosmarinifolia, and oleaefolia, etc., which seem to indicate that the above all belong to one very variable species. Nevertheless they are sufficiently distinct to be desirable in a garden. These shrubs are especially valuable for sea-side planting.

Fontanesia phillyreoldes is an allied shrub resembling the common Privet in its slender branches, but with ciliate leaves and white clustered flowers. The fruit is a winged capsule like that of Syringa.