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Alexandrian Laurel Danae racemosa

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Danae laurus
  • Danaidia racemosa
  • Ruscus racemosus
Phonetic Spelling
dan-AY-ee-uh ray-see-MO-suh
Description

Poet's laurel has open habit with slender branches that arch up and away from center of crown.  It can resemble a clump of bamboo and spreads like one through its rhizomes.  Its lush foliage discolors in full sun so keep it in partial to full shade.  It prefers moist well-drained soil enriched with organic matter.  It tolerates clay and sand as long as there is adequate moisture.   Once it is established it is fairly drought tolerant.  There can be some damage during cold winters but it does not seem to affect the underground buds from producing leaves the next year.  It is fairly difficult to propagate both by seed and division of older plants so it may be challenging to find it in the nurseries.

The glossy green foliage is long-lasting so ideal for flower arrangements.  But its real stunning beauty comes in late fall and winter with its beautiful display of bright orange-red round berries.   It's arching habit make it lovely spilling over a wall or walkway, or tucked in a rock garden.  It also works well planted at a stream or pond edge as the branches will lightly dip into the water.  They also do well in the deep shade of the under canopy of rhododendrons or mountain laurels in a woodland garden.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Shiny, bright green stems, 'petioles' and 'leaves'
  • Cladophylls are alternate, lanceolate, 'parallel-veined'
  • Small evergreen shrub with red-orange berries
  • Minute, hair-like leaves at base of cladophylls

Evergreen shrub to 4'.

Blooms in Spring, inconspicuous; Red-orange berry is ornamental; 'Foliage' is actually cladophylls and is attractive year-round, appears to be parallel-veined, but has no veins; absence of stomata cuts water losses but decreases ability to cope with hot weather or full sun; used as patio plant, specimen, indoor plant; spreads by rhizomes.

Prefers moist, well-drained soil in shade; no serious pest/disease problems.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#water garden#drought tolerant#heavy shade#perennial#shrub#interiorscape#winter interest#fall interest#flower arrangements#rhizomes#glossy leaves#woodland#fall fruits#rock gardens#cutting garden#emerald#lush#bamboo-like#fantz#walkway planting
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#water garden#drought tolerant#heavy shade#perennial#shrub#interiorscape#winter interest#fall interest#flower arrangements#rhizomes#glossy leaves#woodland#fall fruits#rock gardens#cutting garden#emerald#lush#bamboo-like#fantz#walkway planting
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Danae
    Species:
    racemosa
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Foliage long-lasting for flower arrangements and wreaths.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Turkey, Iran
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Open
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    0.5" green in the summer turn to bright orange-red berries in fall and persist into winter. Up to ten berries can be in one grouping which makes it quite showy. An orbicular berry, orange-red.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Non-showy, terminal racemes 1/8" greenish yellow bell-shaped flowers from leaf axils. Monecious. (5-8) greenish yellow, 3/4-1 1/4".
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, lustrous, rich, emerald green, modified stems called phylloclades; 1.5-4" long; tapered point on each end. Minute and hairlike at base of cladophylls.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    There is occasional stem dieback so prune out those stems. Green, rigid, branched, clumped; cladophylls alternate,oblong-lanceolate, acute, narrowed at base and shortly stalked, ridged longitudinally, shiny green.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Riparian
    Rock Wall
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Water Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heavy Shade