February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Thymelaeaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Daphne Renowned for its fragrance but with much more to offer than just scent, this genus includes 50 or so evergreen and deciduous shrubs with a natural range extending from Europe and North Africa to temperate and subtropical Asia. Most species are naturally neat, compact bushes and seldom exceed 6?ft (1.8?m). Many are less than 2?ft (60 cm) tall and make excellent rockery plants. Leaves are usually very simple: smooth-edged, blunt-tipped elongated ovals, either thin and dull green or thick, leathery and slightly glossy. Individually the flowers are small and not very brightly colored?usually shades of white, cream, yellow or pink?but are carried in rounded heads that are often very showy, and sometimes highly scented. Drupes follow the flowers and are sometimes colorful. CULTIVATION: Daphnes generally prefer moist, cool, humus-rich, slightly acid soil that is well drained. If camellias and rhododendrons do well in your garden, so should daphnes. Once established, daphnes resent disturbance and you should avoid damaging the surface roots by cultivation. Instead, use mulch to suppress weeds. Small-leafed species prefer bright conditions; those with larger leaves are happier shaded from the hottest sun. Propagate from seed or by cuttings or layers.
Dirca This genus of 2 deciduous shrubs, both native to North America, has tough flexible branches, simple alternate leaves, and fruit which is a small red or greenish drupe with 4 segments. The insignificant yellow flowers have no petals and open in the spring before the leaves appear. Twigs and bark are used by Native Americans for making rope and weaving baskets. All parts of the plant are poisonous and may cause skin irritation, and the fruit also has a narcotic effect. CULTIVATION: Leatherwoods need exposure to full sun to achieve their best habit but will also grow in shade. They are quite hardy and grow best in a well-drained moist soil. Propagation is from seed or by layering.

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