Daphne blagayana Freyer

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Daphne blagayana' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/daphne/daphne-blagayana/). Accessed 2024-06-24.

A dwarf, evergreen shrub of spreading habit, rarely more than 1 ft high. Leaves stalkless, aggregated in a tuft at the end of the twig, narrowly obovate, tapered towards the base, rounded at the apex, 1 to 134 in. long, 13 to 34 in. wide, glabrous on both surfaces. Flowers creamy white, very fragrant, produced in March and April, crowded in a head of twenty to thirty blossoms at the end of the twig and about 2 in. across, consisting of several umbels, subtended by thin, greenish, silky bracts. Flowers 12 in. in diameter; the lobes broadly ovate, 14 in. long; the tube 58 to 34 in. long, slenderly cylindrical, slightly silky. Fruit pinkish white, rarely seen in cultivation. Bot. Mag., t. 7579.

Native of northern Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Rumania; discovered by Count Blagay on his estate in Slovenia in 1837; introduced about 1875. This beautiful and sweet-scented daphne has perhaps nowhere been so successfully cultivated as in the Glasnevin Botanic Gardens. It was there planted on low mounds composed of stones and loam from a granite district. The secret of success appears to be in the continuous layering of the shoots. As soon as the young growths are an inch or so long, the previous summer’s branches are weighed down to the ground by placing stones on them. A little soil may come between. By this system the whole plant is always renewing its root system at the younger parts. The late Sir Frederick Moore, then the Keeper of the garden, did not consider that this daphne needs lime. He recommended good loam or peat and leaf-soil, and partial shade.

D. blagayana no longer succeeds at Glasnevin, and there seems to be no plant in British gardens at the present time that can compare with the one mentioned above in health or vigour. Mr Hodgkin suggests as a possible reason that the stock has deteriorated, perhaps through virus infection.