Herbs or shrubs, with white, pink, or green flowers, which are usually bisexual. Perianth with 4 equal lobes, often petaloid and fragrant. Ovary usually 1-celled. Fruit a drupe or berry.

About 400 species inhabiting temperate and hot regions.

Daphne L

Shrubs with pink, white, or green fragrant flowers, and often thick evergreen leaves. Perianth tubular, 4-lobed, petaloid. About 80 species inhabiting Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Daphne Alpina L

A small shrub. Leaves lanceolate or obovate, spathulate, downy, ultimately glabrous, deciduous. Flowers terminal, crowded, sessile, woolly, appearing at same time as leaves, fragrant. Perianth white, segments lanceolate, acuminate, about one-third shorter than the perianth-tube.

Alpine and sub-alpine rocks, descending to the plains; local. May to July.

Distribution

Carpathians, Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Jura, Cevennes, Pyrenees; mountains of the Var.

Daphne Blagayana Freyer

An evergreen creeping shrub with coriaceous leaves and very fragrant yellowish white flowers. Stem ascending, usually simple. Leaves obovate-lanceolate, obtuse, glabrous. Flowers in terminal clusters. Tube of perianth slightly hairy on the outside, longer than the oval segments of the perianth-limb.

Bushy places at about 5000 feet; very rare. April, May.

Distribution

Carinthia, Styria, and Carniola.

Daphne Cneorum L

A small under-shrub 6-18 inches high, with spreading reddish brown branches, downy and very leafy at the top. Leaves glabrous, leathery, persistent, small, oblong or linear-spathulate, sessile, 1-nerved. Flowers rose-coloured, very scented, sub-sessile, 6-12 inches, terminal heads. Perianth-lobes oval or lanceolate, tube long. Berry ovoid, yellow-orange.

Dry, stony places from the plains up to 5000 feet. April to August. The rose-coloured D. striata is more Alpine.

Distribution

Southern Switzerland (Tessin), S. and S.W. France, Eastern Alps, Central Europe.

Daphne Mezereum L. Mezereon

A stiff, glabrous shrub 1-3 feet high with the branches ending in a tuft of lanceolate leaves about 2 1/2 inches long. The flowers appear before the leaves, and are light purple and sweet-scented. Perianth-tube slightly hairy. Berries red, as large as peas.

Mountain woods and stony pastures, sometimes seen at 7000 and even 8000 feet in the Alps. Flowers in spring.

Distribution

Nearly all Europe, to the Arctic regions, British.

Daphne Laureola L. Spurge Laurel

A glabrous, erect shrub 2-4 feet high, with few branches and evergreen oblong-lanceolate leaves crowded towards the top. Flowers rather small, greenish yellow, in clusters in the axils of the leaves. Berries bluish black.

Bushy places and mountain limestone woods up to 5000 feet; local. April, May.

Distribution

Southern and Western Europe, Corsica, N. Africa. British.