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Mezereon Daphne mezereum

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
DAF-nee meh-zer-EE-um
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Spurge laurel is a small deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub in the Thymelaeaceae.  It is native to central and eastern Europe, Turkey, and Iran.  The common name February daphne comes from the fact that it flowers in the late winter.  This small upright shrub typically grows to a height and width of 3 to 5 feet.  

Plant it in a cool partially shady to full shade location, with protection from the wind.  Full sun will scorch the leaves.  It prefers moist organically rich sandy alkaline soils.   

The shiny green leaves alternate, and simple.  The flowers very fragrant, lilac to rose-purple or white with 2-3 per cluster and developing before the leaves.  The fruits are clustered at the stems starting out green and turn a red or yellow.

It is resistant to browsing by rabbits and can be planted near black walnut trees.  Use them as informal hedge or place them an a location where there sweet-fragranced flowers can be enjoyed.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  They are susceptible to viruses and botrytis.  It can be difficult to grow especially with southern hot summers.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#fragrant flowers#specimen#pink flowers#rabbit resistant#hedges#naturalizes#small group plantings#bird friendly#difficult to grow#black walnut toxicity tolerant#wind damage prone#shrub borders#contact dermatitis#toxic to humans
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#fragrant flowers#specimen#pink flowers#rabbit resistant#hedges#naturalizes#small group plantings#bird friendly#difficult to grow#black walnut toxicity tolerant#wind damage prone#shrub borders#contact dermatitis#toxic to humans
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Daphne
    Species:
    mezereum
    Family:
    Thymelaeaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe to Northern Iran
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds enjoy the fruits.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    3/8" long green ripening to red or yellow in June clustered close to the stem.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Flowers very fragrant, lilac to rose-purple or white four petals, 2-4 per stalkless cluster and emerge on stems before the leaves
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Simple, spirally arranged on the stem, dark green oblaceolate leaves are 3 1/2" long and 1/2" wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    All parts of the plant are highly toxic, may be fatal if eaten. Skin irrigation minor or lasting only for a few minutes. Swelling of lips and tongue, thirst, difficulty of swallowing, nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding with bloody diarrhea, weakness, and coma; skin irritation with blisters upon contact with leaves.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Diterpenoid (mezerein), daphnin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Sap/Juice