Meaning and History of Daffodils


Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils. Botanists differ, but there are at least 25 species, some with a great many different forms, and several natural hybrids. In addition to the species, the current printout of the Daffodil Data Bank lists over 13,000 hybrids which are divided among the twelve divisions of the official classification.

Between Mohammed and the 16th Centry, daffodils were relegated to the wild and were essentially forgotten. However, around or about 1629 a group of Englishmen took the daffodil out of the weeds and put it into the garden. Daffodils were in favor again.

Daffodils were brought to Britain by the Romans who thought that the sap from daffodils had healing powers. Actually the sap contains crystals that can irritate the skin.

Greek mythology gives us the term narcissus. There was a young Greek named Narcissus. A nymph called Echo was in love with him, but Narcissus broke off the relationship. Heartbroken she hid in a cave and died. Later Narcissus, who was very handsome and quite taken with himself, saw his face in a pool, and as he leaned over to see better, fell in and drowned and became the flower.

(Source Suite 101,  American Daffodil Society, Urbanext)

Visit The American Daffodil Society for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

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