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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - September 02, 2009

From: Tofino, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Distinguishing wax myrtle from Daphne laureola in Tofino BC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am wondering how to distinguish California Wax Myrtle from Daphne Laurel, the latter which I would prefer to eradicate from my property. If it is wax myrtle, it gets to live..

ANSWER:

We believe that what you are referring to is Daphne laureola, another common name is Spurge laurel. It originated in Africa and Europe, and therefore it is out of our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where we deal only in plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which they are being grown. However, Daphne laureola is also poisonous and invasive, declared a noxious weed in several parts of the United States, which does make it our business. From this USDA Plant Profile, we can see that it is mainly infesting Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, no comfort to you, we're sure.

Morella californica (California wax myrtle)  is native to the same area, as well as some more states to the south of Oregon in the United States, again according to the USDA Plant Profile, so there is a good possibilibility both are existing in your vicinity. 

The best thing we can do, in answer to your question, is to direct you to websites describing each in detail (with instructions on getting rid of the Daphne laureola) and hope you can work from there. We found an excellent website from King County, Washington Noxious Weeds that not only discusses it in detail, but gives you other links for further research. Pictures of Daphne laureola  from Google.

Follow our link on Morella californica (California wax myrtle) to our webpage on this plant, and also see this Fact Sheet from the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation on Morella californica. Pictures of Morella california from Google.

Since neither plant is native to, nor appears to grow in, Texas  we have no personal experience to share with you.  Perhaps you could contact an agricultural office or university in your area for closer-to-home experience.


 

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