Daphne Odora, Winter Daphne


Posted by John Minton | Posted in Plants | Last Updated February 23, 2014

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Daphne Odora Marginata

This plant has one of the most amazing fragrances I’ve ever smelled. The particular variety I have is Daphne Odora Marginata and is also known as Winter Daphne, I assume this is because it does not do well in hot sun but prefers cold weather. My Daphne Odora is in bloom right now and the flowers started opening up the end of February. My neighbor has a different variety of Daphne that has been in bloom for a few months now. The different varieties bloom during different times of the year, for varying lengths of time, and even require different growing conditions.

From what I understand the Daphne Odora does not like hot direct afternoon sun, so placement of Daphne Odora is something you may have to play with for this variety. Keep your Daphne Odora in a pot for the first year, until you figure out where it should go exactly. For instance the front of my house gets pretty good morning sun, but starts receiving shade just around noon time so I keep my Daphne Odora on my front porch in a pot. If it continues to do well then I will either keep it in the pot or plant it close to that location.

Many Daphne plants do not like their roots to be played with, so when planting in the ground be careful not to mess with the roots too much.

Daphne Odora MarginataEvery part of the Daphne Odora is poisonous – branches, leaves, flowers and probably even honey made from the nectar. The particular substance from the plant that is poisonous is Mezerin. Mezerin is also an anti-tumor agent, somehow used is the medical field to fight cancer. Daphne plants are the primary source of Mezerin. Ingesting too much of any part of the Daphne plants can lead to coma and possibly even death. www.ces.ncsu.edu says symptoms may include 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. Though I do not believe it to be like poison oak, I have touched the leaves and have not experienced any rashes or blisters myself.

As I mentioned, Daphne Odora has an awesome fragrance.  It should be planted near walk ways, windows or similar areas so that the fragrance can be enjoyed. Some Daphne variations have more potent scent than others, while my Daphne Odora smells wonderful I do not believe it is the strongest smelling Daphne one can find.

Daphne Odora "Alba"Some other variations include Daphne Napolitana, Daphne Collina, Daphne Mezereum, Daphne “Lawrence Crocker”, Daphne “Burkwoodii”, Daphne “Carol Mackie”, Daphne “Eternal Fragrance”, Daphne “Summer Ice”, Daphne Retusa, Daphne Bholua and my favorite for appearance thus far Daphne Odora ‘Alba’ which has beautiful snow white flowers!