se United States, West Indies (Antilles), South America (Argentina, Brazil), Asia (China, India, Japan), Pacific Islands (Fiji), Australia, temperate, tropical, and subtropical areas.
Genera 2, species 320 (1 genus, 2 species in the flora).
Cordyloblaste Henschel ex Moritzi, with two species, occurs in eastern Asia (P. W. Fritsch et al. 2008).
Following A. L. de Jussieu (1789), some authors have long placed the Symplocaceae in Ebenales close to Styracaceae; others have placed it in Theales or Cornales (B. Ståhl 2004b). The recent ordinal classifications of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (1998, 2003) assigned it to the more broadly circumscribed Ericales (including Ebenales), comprising 24 families. Studies with DNA sequence data place Symplocaceae as sister to Styracaceae + Diapensiaceae (J. Schönenberger et al. 2005).
Within Ericales, Symplocaceae are distinguished by their estipulate leaves; sympetalous, actinomorphic corollas; epipetalous, connate stamens; inferior ovaries; simple styles; unitegmic ovules; and drupaceous fruits. These features and recent phylogenetic studies based on DNA sequence data and morphology leave no doubt that Symplocaceae constitute a monophyletic group (Wang Y. et al. 2004; P. W. Fritsch et al. 2006, 2008).