Daphne laureola

Although it has a poisonous sap, Daphne or Spurge-Laurel (Daphne laureola), is a top ornamental pick for gardens. This species can be purchased at a number of garden centres in BC and is typically planted as an alternative to dwarf rhododendron.

The Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System has listed daphne as a poisonous plant, as well as a toxic plant warning issued from Worksafe BC. This toxic sap has been known to cause skin rashes, nausea, swelling of the tongue, and coma.

Daphne was recently introduced to the Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, and the Lower Mainland regions of BC and can be found along roadsides and moist wooded areas. Daphne is popular among gardeners for its fragrant yellow-green flowers and glossy dark green whorled arranged leaves located on the stem which reach approximately 1.5m in height.

Daphne does not require open or disturbed soil to colonize and can adapt to sun or shade conditions, for these reasons it is very important to prevent further spread of this species. Daphne is notorious for taking over natural vegetation; to prevent spreading, gardeners are asked to be ‘PlantWise’ when selecting new ornamental plants.