Content Detail

Burkwood’s daphne is a semi-evergreen shrub for sandy, well-drained soils. The wide-spreading, 3 to 4 foot high shrub is grown for its extremely fragrant flower clusters in May. This plant will suffer in cold winters and should be located in a protected site. The cultivar ‘Carol Mackie’ is a popular variegated form. The shrub may be difficult to find in nurseries in zone 5.

  • Family (English) Mezereum
  • Family (botanic) Thymelaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, Sandy soil, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early spring, early summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Pink
  • Shape or form Mounded, Round
  • Growth rate Slow

Size & Form:

A semi-evergreen, fragrant shrub that grows 3 to 4 feet high with a compact, rounded, wide spreading habit.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This shrub is a cross between Caucasian daphne (Daphne caucasica) and (D. cneorum), originating in England.

Bark color and texture:

Burkwood’s daphne has a brownish-gray bark. 

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

It’s gray-green, 2 inch long leaves persist well into December.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Fragrant clusters of pale pink flowers bloom in late spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

It has tiny 1/3 inch wide red drupes in fall.

Plant care:

Burkwood’s daphne requires full sun in an extremely well-drained, sandy soil. It is short-lived in clay soil because of water retention. Water well in dry periods. It is best planted in the spring in a protected site out of wind. Winter protection is required  in cold climates.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Burkwood’s daphne is susceptible to leaf spots, crown rots, cankers, and wilt.

Carol Mackie Burkwood’s Daphne (Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’): 

Best known for its variegated foliage, this dense mounded shrub grows 2 to 3 feet tall. Pale pink flowers are extremely fragrant.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift