North America, Mexico, Central America, n, w South America, Eurasia, Africa, predominately northern boreal and temperate regions, also high elevations in subtropical and tropical regions.
Genus 1, species ca. 60 (20 species in the flora).
Delimitation of Cornaceae has varied over the years, with many treatments circumscribing the family broadly to include Nyssa and several small Asian genera along with Cornus (for example, Xiang Q. Y. et al. 1998). DNA sequence data from intensive taxon sampling support narrower circumscription, with Cornus as the sole member of the family and sister to the Asian Alangiaceae de Candolle (Xiang et al. 2011); that treatment is followed here. Aucuba, sometimes included in Cornaceae, is here placed in Garryaceae.