This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Erect or spreading shrubs, with alternate deciduous or evergreen leaves, and small purple pink or white flowers in fascicles, heads or racemes, borne in the following species at the leafless nodes of twigs of the preceding season. Perianth tubular, its 4 lobes spreading. Stamens 8, in 2 series on the perianth-tube, included, or the upper 4 slightly exserted; filaments very short. Disk none. Ovary sessile or nearly so, I-celled; style very short; stigma large, capitate. Drupe ovoid, or oblong, the calyx deciduous or persistent. [Mythological name.]
About 40 species, natives of Europe and Asia. Type species: Daphne Gnidium L.
Daphne Mezereum L. Sp. Pl. 356. 1753.
A shrub 1°-4° high, the young twigs somewhat pubescent. Leaves thin, deciduous, oblong-lanceolate or ob-lanceolate, acute or obtusish at the apex, 3'-5 long, 4"-10" wide, narrowed into short petioles; flowers in sessile fascicles of 2-5 at the nodes of twigs of the preceding season, very fragrant, expanding before the leaves or with them; perianth-tube appressed-pubescent, rose-purple or white, 6" long or less, the ovate acute lobes nearly as long; drupe red, oval-ovoid, 3"- 4" long.
2. DÍRCA L. Sp. Pl. 358. 1753.
Branching shrubs, with tough fibrous bark, alternate thin short-petioled deciduous leaves, and yellowish flowers in peduncled fascicles of 2-4 from scaly buds at the nodes of twigs of the preceding season, branches subsequently developing from the same nodes. Perianth campanulate or funnel form, its limb undulately obscurely 4-toothed. Stamens 8, borne on the perianth, exserted, the alternate ones longer; filaments very slender. Disk obsolete. Ovary nearly sessile, I-celled; style filiform, exserted; stigma small, capitate. Drupe red, oval-oblong. [Named from a fountain in Thebes.]
Two known species, the following typical; D. occidentális A. Cray, in California.
Dirca palustris L. Sp. Pl. 358. 1753.
A shrub, 2°-6° high, the twigs yellowish green, glabrous, jointed. Leaves oval, or obovate, obtuse at the apex, rounded or narrowed at the base, pubescent when young, glabrous, or very nearly so, and 2-3' long when mature; bud-scales 3 or 4, oval, or oblong, very pubescent with brown hairs, deciduous; peduncle about 2 1/2' long; flowers nearly sessile, expanding before the leaves; perianth 2"-3" long; style longer than the stamens; drupe about 6" long In woods and thickets, mostly in wet soil, New Brunswick to Ontario, Minnesota, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and Missouri. Swamp-wood. Leather-bush. Wickup. American mezereon. Rope-bark. The bark produces violent vomiting; applied externally, it is an irritant to the skin. April-May.