Growing at altitudes of 5,5000-12,500′ in the Himalayas and neighboring mountain ranges from Nepal to southern China, this flowering shrub tends to be evergreen at lower elevations and deciduous at higher ones. It is a member of the Thymelaeaceae plant family that includes almost 900 species, most of which are unknown to American gardeners. The plant grows 6-13′ tall and has an upright, open habit. The leathery, medium-green leaves are 2-4″ long, narrowly elliptic or oblong-lanceolate, and are clustered at the apex of the stems.  In mid-winter, terminal or axillary clusters of 5 to 25 very fragrant white to deep pink flowers open from purple buds. In Nepal, the thin outer bark of the shrub has traditionally been used in paper making, while fiber from the inner bark is used for making rope. D. bholua is a good choice for woodland, fragrance and winter gardens. The genus name, Daphne, honors a nymph of Greek mythology associated with fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks and other bodies of freshwater. The specific epithet, bholua, is from bhulu swa, the Nepalese name for the plant.

Type: Flowering deciduous or evergreen shrub depending on climate

Outstanding Feature: Mid-winter fragrant flowers

Form: Upright, open

Growth Rate: Slow

Bloom: Clusters of 5 to 25 very fragrant white to deep pink flowers in mid winter

Size: 6-13′ H x 3-5′ W

Light: Partial shade

Soil: Average, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-10

Care: Plant in an area sheltered from wind

Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to damage by aphids, mealy bug, root rot, leaf spot, honey fungus, and a virus that causes sudden death

Propagation: Stem cuttings, grafting, (very difficult)

Outstanding Selections:

 ‘Darjeeling’ (5-15  white to pale pink buds and flowers per cluster in late fall to early winter)

‘Gurkha’ (6′ tall, very fragrant white flowers flushed with rosy purple)

 ‘Jacqueline Postill’ ( hardier and more evergreen than species, 12-15 purple pink flowers per cluster)

‘Peter Smithers’ ( dark red-purple buds open to pink flowers)

 ‘Rupina La’ (deciduous with large leaves; up to 25 large dusky pink flowers per cluster)

‘Spring Beauty’ (9′ tall, pink-backed white very fragrant flowers in winter)

Comment: All parts of the plant are poisonous

 Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen