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Daphne mezereum

    Daphne mezereum is one of a genus of about 70 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs in the plant family Thymelaeaceae, noted for their scented flowers and poisonous berries.

    Description

    The perianth is of light purple, rarely white color. The leaves are soft and green. The flowers have a strong scent and grow in front of the leaves. The plant likes alkaline soil and can grow to a height of 30-100cm. It blooms in March and April.
    It is the only European variety that grows its flowers directly at the stem. Usually, this is common in tropic plants.
    The berries are of a bright red color.

    Distribution

    Daphne Mezereum is native in Europe in deciduous forests in medium to higher elevations and in the subalpine vegetation zone. In Austria it is native in all states, in Germany it is found frequently in some of the states.

    Toxicity

    Daphne Mezereum is very toxic because the Daphnetoxin present especially in the berries and twigs, but even the scent contains the toxin. If poisoned, victims experience a choking sensation and for people who touch fresh Daphne Mezereum twigs rashes and ekzemes are possible reactions.
    White wagtails and thrushes seem to be immune to the poisonous fruit and spit out the seeds, thereby contributing to the plant's distribution.

    Reference

    This article is based on a translation of an article from the German Wikipedia.
    • Manfred A. Fischer: Exkursionsflora von Österreich, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-8001-3461-6
    • Smeil, Fitschen: Flora von Deutschland, Heidelberg, Wiesbaden.

    Image:Daphne mezereum1.jpg|Image:Daphne mezereum2.jpg|White blooming varietyImage:Daphne mezereum4.jpg|