A genus named in honour of R. L. Desfontaines, 1750-1833, director for many years of the Botanic Garden of the Paris Museum and author of Flora A.tlantica (1798-9), one of the earliest accounts of the flora of N. Africa. It is composed of two deciduous shrubs, or as some authorities hold, but one, closely allied to the ashes, but with simple, opposite leaves. Flowers numerous, small and greenish; petals four; stamens two. Fruit a thin, flat capsule whose two cells are surrounded by a wing. These shrubs have about the same value in gardens as the privet, being easily cultivated in any soil of moderate quality, and readily propagated by late summer cuttings.
F. phillyreoides also occurs in south-east Sicily, but is rare there.