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A genus of two species found in the Canary Islands and around the shores of the Mediterranean (a Cuban plant is also included in Cneorum by some botanists). It is now placed in a family of its own, the Cneoraceae, the affinities of which are uncertain. In Engler’s system it is placed near the Simaroubaceae, which would make it a fairly close ally of the very dissimilar Ailanthus. But in Dr Hutchinson’s classification it appears in the Order Celastrales, near the Holly family (Aquifoliaceae). Another view is that the Cneoraceae are most nearly akin to the Zygophyllaceae. The generic name comes from the Greek ‘kneoron’, applied to some dwarf shrub resembling the olive and with acrid leaves (perhaps Daphne gnidium).

Species articles