This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Small erect or trailing shrubs with alternate or opposite persistent or deciduous leaves and very fragrant lateral or terminal flowers. Perianth tubular, 4-lobed. Stamens 8, in 2 series; style short or none. Fruit coriaceous or fleshy. North temperate regions of the Old World. Name of classical origin.
Deciduous species, flowers lateral, appearing before the leaves.
1. D. Mezereum. Mezereon. - A small erect branched shrub which produces its clusters of pink, rose or purplish, rarely white flowers in Winter. Leaves membranous, 2 to 3 inches long, lanceolate, obtuse or acute, shortly petiolate. Occasionally seen in copses in the South of England, but perhaps not indigenous.
2. D. Fortunei. - This has lilac flowers, also appearing early in Winter. China.
Erect evergreen species with greenish-yellow axillary flowers.
3. D. Laureola. Wood Laurel. - A shrub 2 to 3 feet high. Leaves coriaceous, 4 or 5 inches long, lanceolate, almost sessile. Flowers in clusters in the axils of the upper leaves, appearing in February. Native in England.
4. D. Pontica. - Very similar to the last, but differing in the lighter green foliage, and deeper coloured flowers which appear about a month later. It is a native of Asia Minor, and not quite so hardy. Both of these, and also No. l,are employed for grafting the greenhouse and rarer varieties upon.
Evergreen or deciduous trailing or erect species with terminal flowers.
5. D. alpina. - An undershrub with lanceolate obovate pubescent deciduous leaves and terminal sessile villose white or rose flowers. A pretty species, suitable for rockwork. Italian Alps. D. Dauphin of gardens is an improved variety of this; and D. Verloti, a charming little shrub with rosy car-mine flowers, inhabiting the same localities, appears to be a diminutive form of the same.
6. D. collina. - An erect shrub 2 or 3 feet high. Leaves oblong-obovate, obtuse, shining, glabrous above, hirsute beneath, persistent. Flowers in clusters, villose, rose-coloured. South of Europe.
7. D. Cnedrum. - A trailing much-branched shrub with linear obtuse mucronate glabrous persistent leaves and bright rose flowers. This is the handsomest of the hardy species, and produces its exquisitely fragrant flowers in great profusion in early Spring. It is a very free grower and deserves a place in the smallest garden.