Thymelaeaceae Taxa treated:
Daphne laureola
D. mezereum
Thymelaea passerina
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by Bengt Jonsell


(6b, 20070529)

 © Flora Nordica

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This treatment is partly outdated - the final version will appear in print.

1 Shrubs; flowers longer than 6 mm
1. Daphne
- Annual herb; flowers shorter than 4 mm

1. Daphne L.

Linnaeus, Sp.pl. : 356 (1753)

Low, rather few-branched shrubs with smooth light bark. Leaves undivided, more or less concentrated towards upper parts of shoots. Inflorescences axillary, condensed, with up to c. 10 sessile flowers. Flowers usually bisexual; hypanthium tubular or urceolate; sepals petaloid, petals absent. Stamens 8, fixed at two levels inside the hypanthium; filaments very short; anthers introrse, opening longitudinally. Ovary bottle-shaped, with short style and prominent stigma. Fruit a drupe with a one-seeded pyrene.

1 Deciduous; leaves pure green, rather thin; fruit red
- Evergreen; leaves dark green, coriaceous; fruit black

1. Daphne mezereum L.     Map

Linnaeus, Sp. pl. 356 (1753). - Type: Linnaean Herbarium 500.1 (LINN) lectotype, sel. by Peterson, Fl. Iran 95: 2 (1972).
D Pebertræ. F näsiä. N tysbast. S tibast.
Phanerophyte. Low shrub, up to 1.5 m but usually lower than 1 m. Branches few to rather numerous (often reduced by grazing), erecto-patent, grey to light brown, as young covered by short hairs with a swollen base. Leaves deciduous, rather thin, alternate, aggregated towards the upper part of the branches, indistinctly petiolate, oblanceolate to narrowly obovate, obtuse to acute, entire, (4.5–)5.5– 9(–11) x (1.3–)1.5–2.5(–3) cm, glabrous (as young ciliate), pure green above, pale green beneath.
Inflorescences (1–)2–3(–5)-flowered, head-like, densely aggregated in leaf axils of the previous year’s shoots. Flowers fragrant, appearing before the leaves, bisexual, subtended by rounded to triangular, brown to rose green scales, 3.0–8.5 x 2–2.5 mm. Corolla dark pink; tube cylindrical, 6.0–7.0 mm, outside finely hairy; lobes 4, patent, rounded triangular, 4.0–5.5 x 3.0–5.0 mm, glabrous. Stamens with yellow anthers, 0.8–1.0 x c. 0.4 mm; filaments 0.1–0.5 mm. Fruit globose, brilliant red, 7–10 x 6–9 mm. – Early spring.
[2n = 18]
Distribution. Nem- NBor. Alt. N /Nord-Fron/ 1250 m. D since long cultivated for ornament, probably not indigenous (but see Andersen 1937); naturalized at least in ØJy, FyL, LFM and Sjæ, elsewhere very rare. N scattered in the southeast (south to AA) and in the central part (from ST to SNo Sørfold, also NNo Saltdal); rare in inner parts of Ro, Ho, SF and MR (absent towards the west); in VA probably only as escaped. S indigenous, perhaps except in the southwest (Hl, BhG and parts of Sk and Vg); where naturalized occurrences are rather frequent and the species has increased during the 20th century. Scattered in most provinces north to LL and southern Nb, but rare in Dls, Bl, Klm and parts of SmI; only in central Öl and as escaped in Gtl ; common in eastern Upl; rare in TL and norhtern Nb. F north to northern KiL and SoL, most common in the districts rich in grass-herb forests (eastern V to northern U, southern EH, northern PK, central Kn, southwestern PeP, Ks northern Kuusamo and southeastern Salla, KiL central Kittilä).
Most of Europe (except the westernmost parts), the Caucasus, Siberia east to the Baykal area; an established garden escape in parts of Canada and USA.
Habitat. Mull-rich soil in mesic to slightly moist, usually shady sites; calciphile. Deciduous woods and groves, preferably with Quercus, Ulmus, Acer and Corylus; also in herb-rich Picea wood and mixed forest. Particularly in places with stones and boulders, in ravines and near lake shores and streams, favoured by somewhat seeping moisture. On limestone cliffs in more open woods and scrub, also in quarries. Towards the north and the mountains in slopes with birch forest, and in screes, preferably south-facing.
As a relic from cultivation in old parks and at abandoned farms and crofts, often long persistent.

2. Daphne laureola L.     Map

Linnaeus, Sp. pl. 357 (1753). - Type: Clifford Herbarium 147. Daphne 1 (BM) lectotype, sel. by Mathew, Taxon 41: 572 (1992).

D Laurbær-Dafne. F laakerinäsiä. N laurbærtysbast. S lagertibast.

Phanerophyte; sometimes gynodioecious. Low shrub, up to 1.5 m but usually lower than 1 m. Branches rather few, erecto-patent, light brown, glabrous. Leaves persistent, coriaceous, alternate, aggregated towards the upper part of the branches, indistinctly petiolate, oblanceolate to obovate, obtuse to acute, entire, 2.5–12 x 1–4 cm, glabrous, dark green and shining above, somewhat lighter green beneath.
Inflorescences 3–7-flowered, very condensed, densely aggregated in leaf axils below the previous year’s shoots. female flowers smaller, c. 5 mm long. Corolla pale yellow to greenish; tube cylindrical, 6.0–9.0 mm, with fine scattered hairs; lobes 4, patent, ovate to triangular, obtuse, 2.0–3.5 x c. 2 mm, glabrous. Stamens with yellow anthers, c. 1,2 x 0.3 mm; filaments c. 0.3 mm. Fruit globose, black, 8– 10 x 6–8 mm. – Early spring.
[2n = 18]
Distribution and habitat. Grown for ornament in southernmost Norden. – D naturalized in deciduous forest in LFM (Møns Klint since 1873, Korselitse Østerskov since 1933) and FyL (Tranekær since 1965); also SJy southern Als 2002, FyL Fuglsbølle, Bregninge, Nyborg (all 1984), Nørre Nærå 2002, Lohals 2004, LFM Hårbølle Pynt 1986, Skørringe Østerskov 1993–1994, Tøvelde 1998.
W, C, S Europe, N Africa

2. Thymelaea Mill.

Miller, Gard. Dict. Abr., ed. 4: [1381] (1754).
Thymelaea passerina (L.) Coss. & Germ., Fl. Env. Paris, ed. 2: 585 (1861). S sparvört. – Annual, erect, 20–40 cm, with a few erect branches, usually glabrous. Leaves 6–15 x 0.5–3.0 mm, linear to lanceolate. Flowers bisexual, axillary, solitary or in clusters of 2–3 along most of the stem, greenish, arising from a tuft of silky hairs and subtended by two lanceolate bracts; hypanthium tubular, 2–3 mm; tepals 0.5–1 mm, ovate. Fruit a black or grey, ovoid, acute nut, 2–3.5 x 1.0–1.8 mm, pubescent.
S Vg Vänersborg (Vargön) 1958 (on manganese ore from Turkey). - Map (not in the book).

References   To top

Andersen, S. 1937: Daphne mezereum vildtvoksende i Danmark. Bot. Tidsskr. 44 : 202-210.