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​Terrible 10 - Spurge Laurel

Spurge Laurel

Spurge laurel (Daphne laureola)

  • Found in shady woodland areas with well-drained soil.
  • Evergreen shrub, 2-4 ft tall with long narrow, glossy dark green leaves forming a whorl at the top of the stalk. Small light green flowers appear between Jan and April at base of leaves. Flowers are bitter-fragrant, and sap has an unpleasant odor. Early summer black berries are toxic to mammals.
  • Escaped from gardens, tossed into wooded areas during garden cleanup. Seeds dispersed by birds.
  • Spreads via seed and roots to take over forest ecosystems; toxic to humans—even touching a pet that has rubbed against it can cause contact dermatitis and seeds are poisonous if eaten.

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