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Daphne odora - Thunb.

Common Name Winter Daphne, Fragrant Daphne
Family Thymelaeaceae
USDA hardiness 7-9
Known Hazards All parts of the plant are poisonous[200]. Skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in some people[65, 200].
Habitats In the shade of upland trees around 1000 metres[147].
Range E. Asia - W. China, Japan.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Daphne odora Winter Daphne, Fragrant Daphne

Daphne odora Winter Daphne, Fragrant Daphne


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Bloom Color: Pink, Purple. Main Bloom Time: Early winter, Late winter, Mid winter. Form: Rounded.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Daphne odora is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7. It is in leaf all year, in flower from January to March. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


D. indica. Hort. D. japonica. Paxton. D. sinensis.


Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anodyne  Antiphlogistic  Antispasmodic  Depurative  Ophthalmic

The flowers and the stems are anodyne, antiphlogistic, antispasmodic, depurative and ophthalmic[147]. A decoction is used in the treatment of backache, myalgia, skin diseases, poor vision etc[147, 218]. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of laryngitis and sore throats[218]. A decoction of the roots and leaves is used in the treatment of sore throat and caked breast[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


The flowers are very fragrant, they are put in sachets and used for pot-pourri. They are also used to perfume water[46, 61]. The cultivar 'Aureo-marginata' can be used as a ground cover when planted about 1 metre apart each way[208].

Special Uses

Ground cover  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden, Specimen. Prefers a cool, lime-free well-drained friable soil[1] and some shelter from cold winds[166]. Succeeds in full sun or semi-shade[219]. This species is not generally hardy in Britain[1] but succeeds outdoors in Devon and Cornwall[11], tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c[200]. The cultivar 'Aureo-marginata' is hardy to about -13°c when grown in a very well-drained soil and it succeeds outdoors at Wisley[200]. Plants can be difficult to establish[208]. A very ornamental plant, a number of named forms have been developed for their ornamental value[182]. The flowers are powerfully fragrant with a spicy undertone[245]. Plants seldom set fruit in British gardens[219]. Plants are resentful of root disturbance and should be planted into their permanent positions as soon as possible[188]. This species is often affected by virus diseases. Some virus-free clones have been produced, their name is normally followed by the letters FKV (free of all known virus)[184]. Special Features: Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe with the pot sealed in a polythene bag to hold in the moisture. Remove this bag as soon as germination takes place[164]. The seed usually germinates better if it is harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it dries on the plant) and sown immediately. Germination should normally take place by spring, though it sometimes takes a further year. Stored seed is more problematic. It should be warm stratified for 8 - 12 weeks at 20°c followed by 12 - 14 weeks at 3°c. Germination may still take another 12 months or more at 15°c[164]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow the plants on in the greenhouse for their first winter and then plant out in spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm long at a node or with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Brachyloma ciliatumDaphne HeathShrub0.4 8-11 SLMHSNM00 
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Daphne genkwaLilac DaphneShrub1.5 4-8  MHSNM03 
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Daphne involucrata Shrub0.0 -  MHSNM001
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Daphne oleoides Shrub1.0 7-10  MHNDM11 
Daphne papyracea Shrub1.5 7-10  MHSM011
Daphne pseudomezereum Shrub1.5 5-9  MHSM001
Salix daphnoidesViolet Willow, Daphne willowTree10.0 4-8 FLMHNMWe123

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

susan heerlyn   Tue Apr 5 19:10:22 2005

On Easter Sunday, upon leaving my sister-in-laws home, I bent over and took 3 big sniffs of this fragrant schrub. Within a few minutes, in the car while driving home I started to have an allergic reaction but I did not know what it was from. Severe coughing, nausea and lost my voice within 10 minutes. I went home took an Allegra and Benadril and went to bed after coughing up blood in mucus. At 3 am I awoke with a swollen tongue and very sore throat and ears. After going through the process of elimination and looking online to find out what they had to offer on this fragrant schrub, I went into the doctors office. I should have gone into emergency for a shot, but got several prescriptions for steroids and a cough surpressant. Thursday, I went back into the Doctor no better. My tongue still somewhat swollen and not able to swallow or talk. The extreme soreness was my throat and under my chin...so swollen. It has been 9 days, I am back in the office but still on drugs and a sore throat abounds. I slept from a Monday until Saturday non stop. I just wanted to let any reader know my experience. I have never had an allergic reaction to any plant or flower...but perfume yes. Take heed and go into emergency if you have any symtoms I've described. It can be a very painful and deadly experience if not taken care of immediately...which I did not.. Doctor's do not have the shot needed to stop the reaction in their offices...only ER can.

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