A review of the taxonomy and distribution of the European species of Damasonium Mill. has been carried out to provide background information for conservation. Damasonium alisma Mill., D. bourgaei Coss. and D. polyspermum Coss. are recognized as distinct species, and descriptions and a key are presented. Lectotypes are designated for D. bourgaei and D. polyspermum. Damasonium alisma is the most northerly taxon, predominantly occurring in France and England, but extending eastwards to Russia. Damasonium bourgaei is widespread around the Mediterranean eastwards at least to India. Damasonium polyspermum occurs mainly in the western Mediterranean.