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The flower Daphne is a timeless symbol of grace and beauty in the garden. With a history as far back as ancient Greece, these blossoms, once sacred to the goddess of the hunt, are still revered for their complex and vibrant beauty. While many species of Daphne can be found in warmer climates throughout the world, the most widespread and admired of all is the European type, known by the scientific name of Daphne mezereum.


As written in Greek mythology, this flower was the favorite of the goddess Artemis, who was the goddess of the hunt, forests and wild animals. One day, Daphne, an Greek nymph and daughter of a river god, became the particular target of Apollo as he became infatuated with her. When she turned him down, Apollo was so desperate he decided to chase her. Finally, Daphne fell to the ground exhausted, and cried out to her father for help. Her father responded and transformed her into the beautiful Daphne Mezereum flower. Overnight Daphne’s beauty was preserved for eternity, making the Daphne Mezereum flower a symbol of lasting love and beauty.


The Daphne Mezereum shrub grows to a height of three to five feet and produces small white blooms in the Spring. Its glossy green leaves make it ideal for use as an evergreen accent plant in gardens as it can remain green all year long in temperate climates. However, in colder climates the plant will die back and become dormant in the winter months. The flower can be grown from seed, however it does not transplant easily as it has a delicate connection to the soil in which it has grown.


The fragrant flowers of the Daphne Mezereum have long been used in perfume making due to the strong scent they produce. The oil extracted from the flowers is also said to contain healing properties, while the leaves can be dried and ground up to make a natural fertilizer. The plant was once thought to be an aphrodisiac, and is sometimes used in homeopathic treatments for sexual difficulties.

Daphnes two


The Daphne Mezereum flower is best grown in a sunny location with well-draining, acidic soil. It needs protection from strong winds and during dry periods the soil must be watered. While slow to grow, once established the shrub will develop an extensive root system allowing for its ability to withstand drought and extreme temperatures. Pruning should be done in the early spring and fertilizing of the plants is advisable with the use of a slow-release fertilizer.

Dangers Of Daphne

Despite its beauty, the Daphne Mezereum is highly toxic with even the slightest touch of its foliage or fruit being potentially dangerous. All parts of the plant contain saponin glycosides that can cause severe skin irritation and even paralysis in extreme cases. For those with pets or children there are safer alternatives, such as the ornamental winter honeysuckle or the Chinese holly.


The Daphne Mezereum is a beautiful, albeit poisonous, flower with a long and storied history. Its enchanting and fragrant blooms make it a favored choice among gardeners, while its toxic properties make it potentially dangerous. Its medicinal and horticultural uses ensure it will remain an enduring part of gardens and gardens of the soul for years to come.

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