The family consists of one genus only, Symplocos, which occurred already in the Eocene over the entire northern hemisphere in the mixed mesophytic forest and in all probability also in the Indo-Australian tropics. As proved by abundant fossil endocarps, the Eocene species had already a fruit structure very similar to that of now living species and the genus existed at that early time obviously already in optima forma, a reason to assume that it must be of high antiquity. This is also corroborated by the fact that the tropical subgenus Symplocos has a very disjunct trans-Pacific range; explanation by chance transoceanic long-distance dispersal must be refuted because it is in contradiction with all presently known facts.