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, laurel leaf, from the similarity of the leaves). Euphorbiaceae. Broad-leaved evergreen hardy or semi-tropical shrubs or small trees, sometimes cultivated for their handsome large foliage.
Leaves large, without stipules, leathery, smooth, more or less glaucous, alternate, entire, petioled, pinnately veined: flowers dioecious, in axillary racemes or panicles, apetalous; calyx 3-8-parted, small, imbricate; stamens 5-18; pistil 2-celled, 4-ovuled: fruit a small, olivelike drupe, usually 1-seeded. - Twelve to 20 species, mostly in tropical Asia, etc. The one, or possibly two, species, rarely seen in cult, in Amer., are from Japan. The large evergreen leaves distinguish it from other hardy euphorbiacous shrubs. They are somewhat rhododendron- or laurel-like, hardy as far north as the Middle Atlantic States, and make very handsome broad-spreading shrubs with inconspicuous flowers
Daphniphyllum can be propagated by cuttings, but roots rather slowly, and if seed could be secured it would no doubt give better results. The plants need protection from frost in winter till well established. They are strong growers in rich soil.
Miq. (D. glaucescens, Hort.). A shrub or small tree, broad and compact, 5-10 ft. high, or more in native land, smooth, twigs red: leaves oblong, 2x8 in., bluish glaucous below; petiole 1-2 in. long, red; lateral veins, 2/5 - 3/5in. apart: flowers small, in short racemes: fruit oblong, not over 1/2in., black. Japan and China. G. 18:478; 31:16. S.I.F. 1:54.
Two other names, D. glauciscens, Blume, and D. jezoense, Hort., occur occasionally in horticultural literature. The first has scarcely glaucous leaves with lateral veins 1/5-1/3. apart and is probably not in cultivation; the latter is a more dwarf form than the others.
J. B. S. Norton.