Description from Flora of China
Farreria I. B. Balfour & W. W. Smith ex Farrer; Pentathymelaea Lecomte.
Shrubs or subshrubs, evergreen or deciduous. Branches glabrous or pubescent. Leaves mostly alternate, sometimes opposite; petiole short. Inflorescence usually terminal, sometimes axillary, capitate or shortly racemose, sometimes paniculate, racemose, or spicate, with or without involucre; peduncle short or absent. Flowers bisexual or unisexual (plants sometimes dioecious), 4- or 5-merous. Calyx tube white, pink, or yellow, rarely mauve, campanulate, cylindric, or slightly funnel-shaped, exterior glabrous or pubescent; lobes 4 or 5, erect or spreading, alternately longer and shorter. Petaloid appendages absent. Stamens twice as many as calyx lobes, in two series; filaments short or absent; anthers oblong, included; connectives indistinct. Disk absent or annular, cup-shaped, sometimes elongated on one side. Ovary usually sessile or slightly stipitate, ovoid, 1-loculed; style terminal, short; stigma capitate. Fruit a succulent berry or dry and leathery, sometimes enclosed by persistent calyx, sometimes naked, usually red or yellow. Seed testa crustaceous, endosperm scanty or absent; cotyledons fleshy.
Species of Daphne have long been valued by gardeners for their extremely fragrant flowers.
See the comments made in the account of the previous genus, Wikstroemia, on the problems of distinguishing Daphne and Wikstroemia. Halda (Genus Daphne. 2001) also included Eriosolena and Rhamnoneuron within Daphne.
Daphne argyi H. Léveillé is a synonym of Myrica rubra Siebold & Zuccarini in the Myricaceae (see Fl. China 4: 276. 1999). Daphne bodinieri H. Léveillé (1914, not 1915) is a synonym of Alyxia schlechteri H. Léveillé in the Apocynaceae (see Fl. China 16: 162. 1995).
About 95 species: Asia, Europe; 52 species (41 endemic) in China.
(Authors: Wang Yinzheng (王印政); Michael G. Gilbert, Brian Mathew, Christopher D. Brickell)