Spurge laurel

Daphne laureola

The spurge laurel (Daphne laureola) is an up to 1 meter tall bush with a handful of leaves on top of the straight, thin, almost not branched stems. The leaves are hard and perennial, obovate -so, larger in the opposite to the petiole half- 6-12 x 2-3 cm size, fusiform towards the petiole, with entire margin and shiny top face. The species is named spurge laurel because these leaves. The naked stem displays marks of the fallen leaves. The spurge laurel starts blossom at the end of winter. The flowers born in bunches in the under of leaves. They’ve just one perianth as a yellow greenish tube that ends in 4 pieces. The fruit is a black, toxic berry.

The spurge laurel can live in the shadow, so it’s found in oakwoods. In the district of Bages, the spurge laurel lives mainly in the mountain areas of Montserrat and Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac.

The spurge laurel (Daphne laureola) is not a relative of the laurel, it hasn’t its properties neither. Opposite to that, it really shares the genus Daphne with the flax-leaved daphne (D.gnidium) that’s found in macchia and clear evergreen oakwoods and the family Thymeleacea with Thymelaea tinctoria, a small bush that is frequent in rosemary shrubs areas.

[photos Jordi Badia]