Invasive Plant

Daphne, Spurge-laurel

Daphne laureola
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Warning

Daphne is listed as a poisonous plant by the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System, and as a toxic plant by Worksafe BC. Its toxic sap can cause skin rashes, nausea, swelling of the tongue, and coma.

About This Species

Daphne was a popular ornamental in gardens at one time due to its glossy, rhododendron-like leaves and fragrant flowers. It is tolerant of both sun and shade and rapidly takes over native vegetation by forming dense thickets in a range of ecosystems. Its black berries are loved by birds, who spread its seeds.

How to Identify

Daphne grows to 1.5 m in height. Its leaves are dark green, glossy, oval-shaped grow in a spiral pattern around the top of the stem. In the spring, clusters of tiny, fragrant, light green flowers form between the leaves. As Daphne gets taller, only the topmost section of the plant has leaves.

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Take Action

Removal should be undertaken by a professional. Always wear gloves and preferably goggles and a breathing mask to remove. Small plants can be pulled out by hand, but larger plants should be carefully cut just below the soil line with large loppers.

Plantwise

Plantwise

Learn about best practices

A few non-invasive alternatives to plant instead of Daphne, Spurge-laurel include:

  • Oregon grape (Berberis (Mahonia) nervosa)
  • Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum)
  • Skimmia cultivars (Skimmia cvs.)
  • Pacific rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum)
  • Winter daphne (Daphne odora)

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