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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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.
If you need advice about invasive species on your property or you are concerned about reported invasives in your local area, contact your local government or regional invasive species organization.
Learn about best practices
A few non-invasive alternatives to plant instead of Daphne (Spurge-Laurel) include:
- Oregon grape (Berberis (Mahonia) nervosa)
- Japanese Evergreen Azalea (Rhododendron kiusianum hybrids)
- Tall Mahonia (Berberis (Mahonia) aquifolium)
- Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum)
- Winter Daphne (Daphne odora)