Daphne mezereum, commonly known as mezereum, mezereon, February daphne, spurge laurel or spurge olive, is a species of Daphne in the flowering family Thymelaeaceae, native to most of Europe and Western Asia, north to northern Scandinavia and Russia.
Daphne mezereum, commonly called February daphne because of its late winter flowers, is a small deciduous shrub with an erect and bushy habit that typically grows to 3-5' tall and as wide. It is native to forests, forest margins and shrubby areas in Europe and Western Asia. It was introduced into North America in colonial times resulting in naturalization in parts of Canada (Quebec and Ontario) and the U. S. (New England to New York and later to Ohio, Montana and Alaska). Oblanceolate, dark green leaves to 3.5” long are arranged spirally along the stems. Fragrant reddish-purple to pink flowers (each to 1/2” across) bloom in stalkless clusters (2-4 flowers per cluster) in late March to early April prior to the emergence of the leaves. Flowers are followed by small fruits (drupes to 3/8” long) which mature in June. All parts of this plant are poisonous to humans if ingested, especially the fruits, sap and bark. Plant saps also typically cause skin irritations.