Daphne (plant)

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Daphne philippi1.jpg
Daphne pontica in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Thymelaeaceae
Genus: Daphne

See text

Daphne (/ˈdæfn/;[1] Greek: Δάφνη, meaning "laurel") is a genus of between 50 and 95 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs in the family Thymelaeaceae, native to Asia, Europe and north Africa. They are noted for their scented flowers and poisonous berries.


The leaves are undivided, mostly arranged alternately (although opposite in D. genkwa). The flowers lack petals and have four (rarely five) petaloid sepals, tubular at the base with free lobes at the apex. The flowers are grouped, either in clusters in the leaf axils towards the end of the stems or in terminal heads. They range in colour from greenish-yellow to white, bright pink and purple; most of the evergreen species have greenish flowers, while the deciduous species tend to have pink flowers. Many species flower in late winter or very early spring. The fruits are one-seeded drupes, which in some species are fleshy and berry-like, in others dry and leathery.[2][3]

Selected Species[edit]


Numerous natural and artificial hybrids are cultivated as ornamental plants. These include:


One species, Daphne papyracea, the Lokta plant, is sustainably harvested in Nepal and Bhutan for paper production.[7]

Many species are cultivated as ornamental shrubs in gardens.[8] The smaller species are used as rock garden plants or, in the case of those more difficult to grow, as plants for the alpine house.[2]



  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ a b c d e f Beckett, K., ed. (1993), Encyclopaedia of Alpines : Volume 1 (A–K), Pershore, UK: AGS Publications, ISBN 978-0-900048-61-6 , pp. 371–376
  3. ^ Wang, Yinzheng; Gilbert, Michael G.; Mathew, Brian F. & Brickell, Christopher (1994), "Daphne", in Wu, Zhengyi; Raven, Peter H. & Hong, Deyuan, Flora of China, Beijing; St. Louis: Science Press; Missouri Botanical Garden, retrieved 2012-01-31 
  4. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Daphne × burkwoodii". Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Daphne × napolitana". Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Mail Order Daphne from Junker's Nursery (38a), Junker's Nursery, archived from the original on 2012-01-29, retrieved 2012-01-29 
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2007. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ Phillips, Roger & Rix, Martyn (1989), Shrubs, London: Pan Books, ISBN 978-0-330-30258-6 , pp. 36–39

External links[edit]