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In Japan, the plant is used as an “ornament for the new year to celebrate the good relationship of old and new generations.”

Daphniphyllum sports evergreen, leathery, glossy oblong leaves to 8 inches with silver-gray under sides. Like Daphne, the leaves are crowded and often whorled at the branch tips. The petiole is one to two inches long and in some forms blushes red into the leaf midrib and out. Daphniphyllum is dioecious; that is, the male flowers are on one plant and female flowers on another. Single plants fail to fruit. For good set, planting five or more individuals in close proximity is a good idea.

Daphniphyllum comes from the Greek and refers to “Daphne” and “leaf.” Daphniphyllum provides the bold textural foliage of Rhododendron unencumbered by the distraction of flowers.

The common name in Japanese is Yuzuri-ha.  According to Satoshi Yamagushi in Matsuyama, Japan, Yuzuri-ha means that the “old leaf is replaced by a new leaf in the succeeding season.” That is, to “take over” or “take turn,” with the old leaf dropping after the new leaf emerges, thus no interruption of the foliage.

 

ゆずりは or yuzuriha is a native tree here that is almost unknown in the gardening world. While it has a scientific name, Daphniphyllum macropodum (a member of the Daphniphyllaceae), it has no English common name yet. It is one of 15 species of evergreen shrubs or trees native to China, Japan and Korea. In Japan, its habitat is a woodland, or stream-side one. Seeds are dispersed is by birds. Source: SFASU Arboretum Home Page

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— March 11, 2007

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