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Daphne

General Information

Daphne or spurge laurel (Daphne laureolais) a shade tolerant shrub with oblong, evergreen leaves, yellow fluted flowers and small, black berries. It looks like it could be from the rhododendron family and so it often is mistaken for a native species in the local forested areas.

Growth Habitat

Daphne is adapted to shade and semi-shaded areas, particularly in the understory of Douglas fir forest. Daphne can grow from seed. It also can grow very densely in the absence of control. The leaves and berries are very toxic both when ingested and when touched (some people are extremely sensitive to the sap on their skin).


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Management

Remove by hand (wearing gloves).

Identification

This shrub is usually found growing in isolated clumps but it is capable of forming large, dense monotypic stands in some cases. The form of the plant looks somewhat like a small tree, 2 to 4 feet tall, with the leaves densely whorled near the top of the stem. Leaves are very dark green, shiny, smooth and thick. The twigs are stout and have a strong odor when cut. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, light green with orange stamens, in clusters of 2 to 10 at the base of the leaves, and particularly fragrant at night when they attract moths. The fruits are poisonous, one-seeded, oval, black berries. Flowering occurs from late January to late March or early April, followed by berries in early summer.

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