Daphne gnidium - L.
Common Name Flax-Leaved Daphne
Family Thymelaeaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards All parts of the plant are poisonous[76]. Skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in some people[200].
Habitats Grows with other evergreen shrubs on shallow, stony soils, often on hillsides.
Range S. Europe, N. Africa and W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Daphne gnidium Flax-Leaved Daphne

Daphne gnidium Flax-Leaved Daphne
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Daphne gnidium is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera.Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


The plant contains toxic compounds that are being investigated for anti-leukaemia effects[238].


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Prefers a well-drained but moisture-retentive slightly acid to slightly alkaline soil[200]. A good sandy loam suits most members of the genus[11]. This species is not very hardy in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c, it should succeed outdoors in the milder areas of the country[238]. Plants are resentful of root disturbance and should be planted into their permanent positions as soon as possible[188]. The flowers, which are produced in terminal clusters, are sweetly scented[245].
Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe with the pot sealed in a polythene bag to hold in the moisture. Remove this bag as soon as germination takes place[164]. The seed usually germinates better if it is harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it dries on the plant) and sown immediately. Germination should normally take place by spring, though it sometimes takes a further year. Stored seed is more problematic. It should be warm stratified for 8 - 12 weeks at 20°c followed by 12 - 14 weeks at 3°c. Germination may still take another 12 months or more at 15°c[164]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow the plants on in the greenhouse for their first winter and then plant out in spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, December in a greenhouse.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Brachyloma ciliatumDaphne Heath00
Chamaedaphne calyculataLeather Leaf11
Daphne bholua 01
Daphne genkwaLilac Daphne03
Daphne involucrata 00
Daphne laureolaSpurge Laurel01
Daphne mezereumMezereon, Paradise plant, February Daphne02
Daphne odoraWinter Daphne, Fragrant Daphne02
Daphne oleoides 11
Daphne papyracea 01
Daphne pseudomezereum 00
Salix daphnoidesViolet Willow, Daphne willow12


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Botanical References
Links / References
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Readers comment
Melissa Harvey   Mon Feb 24 16:48:32 2003
I was looking for information about this plant as I had heared that they use is as a dye in Algeria. I notice that this was not mentioned in your list of uses. I have found little other information about it on the web, but it is mentiones in the proceedings for the conference of Dyes in History and archaeology. The name also brings up many sites in French which I can't understand. DO let me know if you find any further information on this. Many thanks.
   Sun Aug 8 04:40:54 2004
It appears to be used to relax curly hair. Here's the link: http://store.yahoo.com/treasuredlocks/naturalrelaxer.html
Natalie Revis   Sat Oct 16 04:36:16 2004
This plant is used explicitly for a "natural relaxer" for hair. Supposedly, it is in a grounded herb form. Is this possible since it is so poisonous?

Thank you - Natalie Revis

~Prada3721   Tue Dec 19 2006
I too saw that it was being marketed as the main ingredient in a natural relaxer, but now I'm quite alarmed that the point is considered a dermatic poison. . . Hmm anyone else have any other information?
Jayda   Thu Apr 12 2007
I to have heard that it is the main ingredient used in a natural hair relaxer, is it still harmful in this form of usage?
Sondra   Sun Dec 9 2007
I too am curious to try this product, actually I have it on my head right now and I am under a heat cap for 1/2 hour. when reading on the jar of the product, I thought all ingredients were required to be listed.....nothing is listed...it is only in the FAQ section of the phamplet. I too have concern about the use, since it is posion...Is this only the sap or what happens when plant is ground to a fine powder. As we know wht we put on our skin, goes into our bodies as well. SOMEONE PLEASE RESPOND
Jas   Mon Sep 15 2008
I've used the Natural Laxer, which is just the daphne gnidium dried and ground into a powder, and have never regretted my decision. Always to a skin test, and you should be fine. I have dermatitis (eczema), and it has never irritated me. Just be sure to wash all clothing and all surfaces when you're done. :)
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Subject : Daphne gnidium  

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