Botanical Name: Daphne laureola
Species: D. laureola
Common Name: Spurge Laurel
Habitat: Daphne laureola is native to estern and southern Europe, from Britain and Belgium to Spain and Macedonia, N. Africa, W. Asia. It grows in woods, mainly on calcareous soils, where it is widespread and rather common.
Daphne laureola is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). The habit of this shrub can be upright or decumbent (arched at the base then spreading upward). The bark is thin and yellow-grey when mature, while immature stems are green. The cambium is malodorous with a scent reminiscent of herb robert.
The alternate leaves usually form dense whorls at the shoot tips, but may clothe entire branches. The leaves are oblanceolate to obovate-oblanceolate, 2–13 cm long and 1–3 cm wide. They are glabrous (smooth), dark green and glossy on the upper surface and lighter in color beneath. The inconspicuous yellow-green axial flowers, usually hidden among the leaf bases, may be strongly fragrant, or may exhibit no scent at all.
It is in flower from February to April. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).
Prefers a moist soil and a position in semi-shade, growing well in woodlands. Plants are often found growing in dense shade in the wild. A good sandy loam suits most members of this genus. Flowers are produced towards the ends of the previous year’s growth. They are sweetly scented. Plants are resentful of root disturbance and should be planted into their permanent positions as soon as possible.
The leaves have been used as an emmenagogue, though they can cause purging and vomiting. Both the leaves and the bark have been used to procure abortions. The plant contains various toxic compounds and these are currently being investigated (1995) for anti-leukaemia effects.
Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous. Skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in some people.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.