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Daphne mezereum



Daphne mezereum

Daphne mezereum foliage and fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malvales
Family: Thymelaeaceae
Genus: Daphne
Species: D. mezereum
Binomial name
Daphne mezereum
L.

Daphne mezereum is a species of Daphne in the flowering plant family Thymelaeaceae, native to most of Europe and western Asia, north to northern England and central Scandinavia. In southern Europe it is confined to medium to higher elevations and in the subalpine vegetation zone, but descends to near sea level in northern Europe. It is generally confined to soils derived from limestone. The common name is Mezereon.

Additional recommended knowledge

It is a deciduous shrub growing to 1.5 m tall. The leaves are soft, 3-8 cm long and 1-2 cm broad, arranged spirally on the stems. The flowers are produced in early spring on the bare stems before the leaves appear. They have a four-lobed pink or light purple (rarely white) perianth 10-15 mm diameter, and are strongly scented. The fruit is a bright red berry 7-12 mm diameter; it is very poisonous for people, though fruit-eating birds like thrushes are immune and eat them, dispersing the seeds in their droppings.

Toxicity

Daphne mezereum is very toxic because of the Daphnetoxin present especially in the berries and twigs. If poisoned, victims experience a choking sensation. Handling the fresh twigs can cause rashes and eczema in sensitive individuals. Despite this, it is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens for its attractive flowers.

References

  • This article is based on a translation of an article from the German Wikipedia.
  • Manfred A. Fischer: Exkursionsflora von Österreich, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-8001-3461-6
  • Smeil, Fitschen: Flora von Deutschland, Heidelberg, Wiesbaden.


 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Daphne_mezereum". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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