This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek name of Laurus nobilis). Thy-melseacex. Ornamental woody plants, chiefly grown for their handsome foliage and sweet-scented, white, purple, lilac or rarely greenish flowers, which, with some species, in warmer climates, often appear in the winter.
Low deciduous or evergreen shrubs: leaves alternate, rarely opposite, entire, short-petioled: flowers in clusters, short racemes or umbels, apetalous, mostly fragrant; calyx-tube cylindric or campanulate, 4-lobed, corolla-like, usually clothed with silky hairs outside; stamens 8, in two rows, included; stigma capitate, sessile or nearly so: fruit a fleshy or leathery 1-seeded drupe. -About 50 species in Eu. and Asia. For a monograph of the section Daph-nanthes see Keissler in Engler Bot. Jahrb. 25:29-124 (1898); see also Nitsche, Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Gattung Daphne (1907).
Only D. Mezereum, with very early lilac fragrant flowers and decorative scarlet fruit, and some low evergreen species, like D. Cneorum and D. Blaga-yana, are hardy North, while most of the evergreen species can be recommended only for warmer climates. D. Genkwa with lilac flowers appearing before the leaves, and D. pontica and D. Laureola, with large evergreen leaves, are hardy as far north as New York. D. odora is fairly hardy in Washington, D. C.
In California, according to Franceschi, the species most commonly grown is D. odora, the plants being mostly imported from Japan. Many plants are also sent from Japan for eastern greenhouse culture. A decoction of the bark of D. Mezereum is sold in drug-stores under the name of mezereum. It is stimulant and diuretic. It is also known as olive spurge.
Fig. 1218. Floret of Dandelion.
Fig. 1219. Mature fruit of dandelion.
Daphnes thrive best in a well-drained light soil and in a partly shaded position, but some, as D. Cneorum and D. Blagayana, which are exceedingly pretty plants for rockeries, do better in sunny situations. In the North, D. odora and its varieties are often grown in pots for their sweet-scented and handsome flowers appearing during the winter. A sandy compost of peat and loam in equal proportions will suit them; they require a good drainage and careful watering during the winter, and pots not larger than just necessary should be given; they may also be planted out in a cool greenhouse and trained as a wall plant. D. Genkwa, with abundant lilac flowers before the leaves, is sometimes forced.
Propagation is by seeds, sown after maturity or stratified, but germinating very slowly; also by layers put down in spring and taken off the following year. The evergreen species may be increased by cuttings of mature wood in fall under glass, and kept in a cool greenhouse during the winter. If gentle bottom heat can be given in early spring, it will be of advantage to the development of the roots; softwood cuttings taken from forced plants may also be used. D. odora is often veneer-grafted on seedling stock of D. Laureola in winter, or on roots of D. Mezereum; also other species are grafted on roots of D. Mezereum. D. Cneorum and probably its allies are readily increased in spring by removing the earth around the plant, pegging down the branches and filling with fine compost almost to the tops of the branches. Next spring, if the compost is carefully removed, a large number of little buds, each supplied with a white root, are found along the branches; they are easily detached and planted in pans or boxes.
Fig. 1220. The Dandelion.
A. Foliage deciduous: flowers axillary along the branches of the previous year, appearing before the Ivs.
b. Leaves alternate, glabrous. (Mezereum.)
Erect shrub, with stout branches, to 4 ft.: leaves alternate, cuneate, oblong or oblanceolate, glabrous, grayish beneath, 1-3 in. long: flowers usually 3, sessile, silky outside, fragrant, lilac-purple, appearing long before the leaves: fruit roundish ovoid, scarlet. Feb. - April. Eu. to Altai and Caucasus. Gn. 29:602; 33, p. 514; 69, p. 131. V. 2:206. variety alba, Ait., has white flowers and yellow fruit Gn. 29:602; 69, p. 131; 74, p. 255. G.C. III. 21:183, 185; 38:153. R.H. 1905, p. 532. variety plena, Schneid. (variety alba-plena, Hort.), has double white flowers Gn. 29:602. variety grandiflora, Dipp. (variety autumnalis, Hort.). With larger brighter purple very early flowers, sometimes blooming in fall.
(D. Mezereum variety atropurpu-rea, Dipp.). Shrub, to 4 ft., with erect, stout branches: leaves alternate, cuneate, oblong-lanceolate, glabrous, coriaceous and often persistent, purple: flowers appearing before the leaves, lilac-violet, 2-4, in short-peduncled clusters. April. F.S. 6:592. - Of garden origin, supposed to be a hybrid between D. Laureola and D. Mezereum.
bb. Leaves opposite, silky below. (Genkwa.)
(D. Jenkwa, Hort.). Shrub, to 3 ft., with slender branches: leaves opposite, oblong-elliptic, appressed-pubescent on the veins beneath, 1 1/4-2 in. long: flowers lilac, 3-7, in short-stalked clusters, scentless, densely silky-villous outside. March, April. Japan. S.Z. 75. Gt. 15:499. F.S. 3:208. G.M. 35:292. Gn. 42:91; 76, p. 105. R.B. 10:73. variety Fortunei, Franch. (D. Fortunei, Lindl.), has larger flowers and larger less regularly opposite leaves
aa. Foliage evergreen, alternate (see also No. 2).
B. Flowers in terminal heads, rarely axillary and pinkish.
c. Habit low, procumbent or trailing.
Fig. 1221. With long, trailing, pubescent branches: leaves crowded, cuneate, oblanceolate, mucronulate, finally glabrous, dark green and glossy above, glaucescent beneath, 1/2-l in. long: flowers in sessile, many-flowered heads, pink, fragrant. Apr., May, and often again in summer. Mts. of Cent. Eu. B.M. 313. L.B.C. 18:1800. Gn. 33, p. 514; 45, p. 237; 62, p. 83. G.C. III. 47:21. G.M. 47:117. M.D.G. 1900:417, 418; 1906:75. G.W. 14, p. 625. V. 2:342; 4:168. variety major, Dipp. Of more vigorous growth, with larger flowers Gn. 51, p. 358; 65, p. 457. variety Verlotii, Meissn. (D. Verlotii, Gren. & Godr.). Leaves longer, mucronate: flowers 2 weeks later than the type. R. H. 1901, pp. 304, 305; 1902:552. variety maximus of European nurseries =D. neapolitana.