DAPHNE, SHRUB, in botany, a genus of shrubs, belonging to the natural order Thymelaeaceae, and containing about forty species, natives of Europe and temperate Asia. D. Laureola, spurge laurel, a small evergreen shrub with green flowers in the leaf axils towards the ends of the branches and ovoid black very poisonous berries, is found in England in copses and on hedge-banks in stiff soils. D. Mezereum, mezereon, a rather larger shrub, 2 to 4 ft. high, has deciduous leaves, and bears fragrant pink flowers in clusters in the axils of last season's leaves, in early spring before the foliage. The bright red ovoid berries are cathartic, the whole plant is acrid and poisonous, and the bark is used medicinally. It is a native of Europe and north Asia, and found apparently wild in copses and woods in Britain. It is a well-known garden plant, and several other species of the genus are cultivated in the open air and as greenhouse plants. D. Cneorum (Europe) is a hardy evergreen trailing shrub, with bright pink sweet-scented flowers. D. pontica (Eastern Europe) is a hardy spreading evergreen with greenish-yellow fragrant flowers. D. indica (China) and D. japonica (Japan) are greenhouse evergreens with respectively red or white and pinkish-purple flowers.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)