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Daphne

Daphne mezereum - February daphne, mezereon

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An attractive native species whose habitat is rich groves, daphne produces pink strongly scented flowers before leaf-break. It is one of the first signs in the forests of approaching spring: at Mustila, for example, in April-May at the edges of Pohjoisrinne (Northern Slope), on Pähkinärinne (Hazelnut Slope), or in Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron Valley). In autumn it produces red berries which, like the whole shrub, are extremely poisonous.

Daphne thrives in rich forest, especially favouring alkaline soils. In nature, it is usually low and not very bushy, but in good garden soil it can become a leafy shrub up to 1.5m. Daphne is quite happy to grow and flower in shade, and long warm autumns can produce a second flush of flowers.

There is also a white-flowered yellow-berried form, which can be found at Mustila. Daphne is popular in both Europe and North America so many different garden forms have been produced, some with double flowers.

In the Åland Islands daphne is a protected species, elsewhere in Finland collecting for sale is prohibited. Daphne does not like being moved and removing it from the wild into gardens is to be avoided.

 

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