Herb: Spurge Laurel


Latin name: Daphne laureola


Family: Thymelaeaceae (Mezereum Family)



Medicinal use of Spurge Laurel:

The leaves have been used as an emmenagogue, though they can cause purging and vomiting. Both the leaves and the bark have been used to procure abortions. The plant contains various toxic compounds and these are currently being investigated (1995) for anti-leukaemia effects.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Flovering:
February
to April


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

Woods, mainly on calcareous soils, where it is widespread and rather common.

Propagation of Spurge Laurel:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe with the pot sealed in a polythene bag to hold in the moisture. Remove this bag as soon as germination takes place. The seed usually germinates better if it is harvested "green" (when it has fully developed but before it dries on the plant) and sown immediately. Germination should normally take place by spring, though it sometimes takes a further year. Stored seed is more problematic. It should be warm stratified for 8 - 12 weeks at 20C followed by 12 - 14 weeks at 3C. Germination may still take another 12 months or more at 15C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow the plants on in the greenhouse for their first winter and then plant out in spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Woods, mainly on calcareous soils, where it is widespread and rather common.

Known hazards of Daphne laureola:

All parts of the plant are poisonous. Skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.