Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’

1 Mar

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' Flower (27/02/2011, London)

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ Flower (27/02/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Late winter to early spring

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 1.5m

Hardiness: 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Thymelaeaceae

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ is an short lived evergreen shrub with a rounded habit. It bears inversely lance shaped to narrowly oval leaves that are a dark, leathery, glossy, deep green leaves with irregular yellow margins. In late winter to early spring terminal, sometimes-auxiliary clusters of inflorescence appear formed of very fragrant, red-purple, deep tubular, flowers that are paler, almost white within. Fleshy, spherical red fruit sometimes follows these.

The species Daphne odora, commonly known as Winter Daphne or Jinchoge (in Japan), is native China and Japan. In its native habitat it grows lowland and mountainous woodlands. The inner part of the bark has been historically used to make fine quality paper and rope. All parts of the plant are poisonous and the sap can cause dermatitis.

The etymological root of the binomial name Daphne is the old Greek name for Laurus nobilis, some authorities say it was named after the river god’s daughter in Grecian mythology, who on being pursued by an amorous Apollo, prayed for aid and was transformed into a laurel tree. Odora is translated as meaning strongly fragrant as a reference to this species having the most strongly scented flowers of the Daphne genus. ‘Aureomarginata’ means golden margined referring to the leaf edges.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (27/02/2011, London)

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (27/02/2011, London)

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ may be useful to the landscape architect for its winter interest; early fragrant flowers, but also for the interesting evergreen foliage  and its tolerance of shady growing locations. It tolerates pollution exceptionally well making it a suitable candidate for city planting schemes.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil, but it prefers slightly acidic soils.

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ requires little or no maintenance. If damaged branches need to removed this should be done immediately after it has finished flowering. Care should be taken when handling this plant, as the sap is toxic and sometimes an irritant to the skin. Once established this plant will not tolerate being moved.

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