Daphne laurel is a small, long-lived shrub that thrives in full to partial shade, in wet, temperate forests. Originally from Europe, it has been found in the foothills of kunanyi/Mt Wellington and it is believed it originated from a local garden.
It is an attractive plant, with glossy-green alternating leaves; small mauve, white, yellow, or greenish-yellow and fragrant flowers that form in clusters near branch tips; and small fleshy fruits that become bluish-black when ripe.
Not only is this weed an environmental threat, it is also highly toxic to humans, with berry consumption being linked to the death of a child in Canada. Contact with the sap can cause irritation and blistering of the skin.
Its scientific name is Daphne laureola, but it is commonly known as Daphne laurel or spurge laurel.
It has become naturalised in parts of the US, Canada, and New Zealand, where it forms dense stands that out-compete native vegetation.
It is believed the foothills of kunanyi/Mt Wellington, near Fern Tree, is the only place in Australia where this ornamental plant has become an environmental weed.
The City of Hobart has worked with NRM South and the Fern Tree community to eradicate Daphne laurel. Volunteers from the City’s Bushcare program have also played an important role in tackling this weed, working on private properties to map the extent of the weed, and remove larger stands with help from weed contractors.
Distribution of this environmental weed in Hobart is limited, and complete eradication is an achievable aim.