Plant DetailShow Menu

Spurge Flax Daphne odora

Phonetic Spelling
DAF-nee oh-DOH-rah
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Fragrant daphne is a  woody, densely-branched, broadleaf evergreen shrub that can grow to be 2 to 4 feet wide and 4 to  6 1/2 feet tall. A member of the Thymelaeaceae (daphne) family, daphne is native to southern China, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

Daphne should be planted in sun to part shade, in moist, very well-drained soil that can dry out between waterings. It is moderately salt-tolerant. Cut it back after flowering to avoid leggy growth. Though the plants often last only three or four years they are easy to propagate from stem cuttings.

Showy, deeply fragrant flowers in pink, lavender, or white appear in mid-to-late winter before the glossy leaves.  Red or black fruits are sometimes present rounding out year-round interest with this shrub.

This plant works well in a woodland or in a container, as a specimen, or along a foundation plant. It is equally at home in a butterfly, pollinator, or winter garden. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves are coriaceous, alternate, crowded, look whorled
  • Evergreen shrub has shiny dark green leaves
  • Fragrant terminal 1 inch cymes in winter
  • Salverform, cream to purplish flowers with four lobes 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Deck Planting
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Maejima'
    Yellow variegated leaves pink flowers
  • 'Marginata' Form
    Variegated leaves
  • 'Shinano Nishiki'
    Three colored variegated leaves, pale pink flowers
  • 'Variegata'
    Yellow leaf margins
'Maejima', 'Marginata', 'Shinano Nishiki', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#poisonous#fragrant flowers#specimen#salt tolerant#winter interest#year-round interest#glossy leaves#pollinator plant#evergreen shrub#butterfly friendly#flowers late winter#flowers mid-winter#woodland garden#contact dermatitis#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Maejima'
    Yellow variegated leaves pink flowers
  • 'Marginata' Form
    Variegated leaves
  • 'Shinano Nishiki'
    Three colored variegated leaves, pale pink flowers
  • 'Variegata'
    Yellow leaf margins
'Maejima', 'Marginata', 'Shinano Nishiki', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#poisonous#fragrant flowers#specimen#salt tolerant#winter interest#year-round interest#glossy leaves#pollinator plant#evergreen shrub#butterfly friendly#flowers late winter#flowers mid-winter#woodland garden#contact dermatitis#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Daphne
    Species:
    odora
    Family:
    Thymelaeaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South China to Vietnam and Taiwan
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees are attracted to the nectar and pollen and butterflies, moths, and flies are attracted to the nectar in this winter flowering shrub.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Moderately salt tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Seldom produces fruit. A fleshy drupe, red.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    Rosy purple buds open rose pink; flowers in late winter to early spring; fragrant. A cyme, terminal, to 1". (5-10) creamy white to purplish, fragrant, salverform, to 1/4"; calyx a cylindrical fleshy tube with 4 spreading lobes; petals 0.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, leathery, shiny, dark green leaves; 2-3" long; pointed and tapered at each end. Elliptic-oblong, acute, cuneate, entire, coriaceous, shiny.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Few, erect.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Foundation Planting
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Salt
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Unknown, but possibly as in D. mezereum
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unknown, suspected to be a diterpenoid (mezerein)
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems