I photographed this lovely specimen at the font entrance here at UBC Botanical Garden in early May. This is one of my favourite plants in the garden. I have always been fond of fragrant plants, so daphnes are high on my list. ‘Cheriton’ is a proven performer. The evergreen shrub is reported to grow 30-45 cm tall and 60-90 cm wide. Our plant has spread to at least that size if not larger. The fragrance is strong and sweet.
Daphne is a genus of around 70 species, found primarily in Asia and Europe with a few species native to northern Africa. Daphnes are shrubs (or rarely small trees). They can be evergreen or deciduous. The berries are often very toxic and caution is advised when placing in the landscape, although the bitter taste should help keep the unwary from consuming the fruit.
Daphnes are often considered difficult to grow, but many, like the cultivar in this article are actually fairly trouble free. In fact, in the lower mainland of British Columbia and parts of northwestern USA, the European Daphne laureola has proven to be an invasive species. For further reading on the threat check out the fact sheets from the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team and Evergreen. (Note links are to PDF files, might open slowly.)