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Tree Campus: Spurge Daphne

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Spurge Daphne

Daphne laureola (THYMELAEACEAE)



Europe, N. Africa, Azores



"Daphne laureola is a long-lived evergreen shrub that, in the Mediterranean region, occupies preferentially the undergrowth of shady mountain forests. In the study area flowering occurs in February-March, shortly before new leaves are produced. Fruits (single-seededrupes) ripen in early June, earlier than most fleshy-fruited plants in the area, and are heavily consumed by mice and birds. Plants shed their oldest leaves in early summer...

From the viewpoint of slow-moving, flightless invertebrate herbivores that have to crawl along bare stems to reach leaf whorls (e.g. lepidopteran larvae), food resources within D. laureola plants occur as widely spaced packages. Each of these provides food in excess of individual requirements during a single foraging bout, but the need for regular search presumably implies certain costs in terms of time and energy." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

An ethnobotanical survey of Zagori, a center of folk medicine in the past, found that D. laureola was used as a hepatic, against skin disease, toothache, syphilis, rheumatism, and arthritis. [2]

It is also a laxative and purgative. Its berries can be toxic, and the toxicological signs include: "Paleness; Pupil dilation; Mouth and lips swilling; Diarrhea; Convulsion; Pulmonary disorder; Difficulty of deglutition; Death" [3]



"The leaves of D. laureola contain flavonoids and phenolics, which are important biologically active substances... The results show that extracts of plants from Mt. Galicica have better antioxidant and antimicrobial potential compared to plants with Mt. Suva mountain, which is in direct correlation with the presence of total flavonoids and phenols." [4]



[1] Alonso, C., & Herrera, C. M. (1996). Variation in herbivory within and among plants of Daphne laureola (Thymelaeaceae): correlation with plant size and architecture. Journal of Ecology, 495-502.

[2] Vokou, D., Katradi, K., & Kokkini, S. (1993). Ethnobotanical survey of Zagori (Epirus, Greece), a renowned centre of folk medicine in the past. Journal of Ethnopharmacology39(3), 187-196.

[3] Bnouham, M., Merhfour, F. Z., Elachoui, M., Legssyer, A., Mekhfi, H., Lamnaouer, D., & Ziyyat, A. (2006). Toxic effects of some medicinal plants used in Moroccan traditional medicine. Moroccan Journal of Biology, 2(3), 21-30. Chicago

[4] Juskovic, M., Zabar-Popovic, A., Matejic, J., Mihajilov-Krstev, T., Manojlovic, N., & Vasiljevic, P. (2017). Phytochemical screening, antioxidants and antimicrobial potential of leaves of Daphne laureola L. Oxidation Communications40(3), 1058-1069.

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