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How to deal with recircumscription? As there seem to be no consensus of Linnean taxonomy vs. phylogenetic systematics (such as APG II - however not to be confused with phylogenetic taxonomy such as the proposed Phylocode) this family might be problematic. In several recent investigations this family is divided into smaller and seemingly monophyletic families - most probable outcome the two: Erythropalaceae and Olacaceae. Such a split would infer that two old and recognized family names be used, but constituting assemblies of species not recognized by the original family description... Erythropalaceae would include not only Erythropalum (as originally circumscribed) but also Octoknema (often previously placed in its own family), Heisteria, Strombosia and other non-parasitic genera, while Olacaceae would include the (probably) parasitic genera of Olax, Dulacia and so forth.

The genus Brachynema should be excluded, but its placement is still very uncertain - probably Ericales OR Malpighiales... The genus Schoepfia should be treated in its own family together with the Santalaceae genera Arjona and Quinchamalium.