< Flora
Strandzha mad tree
Daphne pontica

Daphne is a genus of about 50 species of plants native to Eurasia and North Africa. The name is Daphne comes from Greek and means laurel tree, which these species resemble with their leaves and fruits. Bulgaria is home to 6 species of the Daphne genus. The Strandzha mad tree (Bg: Strandzhensko byasno durvo Daphne pontica L., as its name indicates, is found only in Strandzha Mountain.
This plant has another popular name; the locals call it "wolf fiber" (bg: vulche liko) for its resilient and strong bark, which makes it very difficult to cut a branch of it, and it is other name because the plant is poisonous.
Despite its fearsome names, the Strandzha mad tree is very beautiful. It is an evergreen shrub between 50 and 100 cm in size. The leaves are shaped as a turned around egg and with leather like surface. They are consistently located on the branches’ top. The flowers are yellow-greenish in colour, growing on the annual branches in pairs with joint stems and gathered in shortened shield-like clusters.
The Strandzha mad tree takes part in the formation of relict evergreen undergrowth typical for the forests of beech and oak in Strandzha Mountain. It blooms in May and gives fruits from July to August.
Although the Strandzha mad tree can be easily found, let's not forget that this is a relict species, rare and with a limited distribution, which we must preserve for our children.

Dr. Svetla Dalakchieva
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