Much-branched shrubs or small trees, evergreen. Leaves opposite, simple, margins entire or toothed, coriaceous, glossy, green, glabrous, short-petiolate. Inflorescences axillary fascicles. Flowers bisexual, fragrant, cream or white; calyx cup-shaped, more or less 4-lobed, lobes small; corolla subrotate, 4-lobed, lobes spreading, imbricate in bud; stamens 2, epipetalous, anthers relatively large, exserted; ovary ovoid, 2-celled, ovules 2 per cell, style short, stigma 2-lobed. Fruit a c. globose, bluish-black drupe, dry, with a crustaceous endocarp; seed 1.
4 species, from the Mediterranean region; 1 species naturalised in Australia.
Willis (1973) notes the occurrence of Phillyrea angustifolia L. (Jasmine-box) along the Yarra River at Studley Park and it has been noted elsewhere in suburban Melbourne, but is doubtfully naturalised anywhere in Victoria. This European shrub to 2.5 m high has glabrous, more or less entire, linear to lanceolate leaves to 8 cm long and mostly less than 1 cm wide, persistent styles, rounded stigmas with obtuse lobes, and ovoid to subglobose drupes.