The Daffodils Flower

Daffodils Flower

I Wander’d lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’ver vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Those immortal words are from William Wordsworth’s 1804 poem, Daffodils. Wordsworth understood the unique quality of this hardy mostly spring blooming flower that has the uncanny ability to dance through the fields like a flock of angels, or as they tiptoe through our imagination while sitting in a bouquet of beauty.

 Scientific Name

The botanic name Narcissus has two derivations. The first one comes from the story of Narcissus in Greek mythology. Narcissus became obsessed with his own reflection in a pool.

He died from starvation and thirst at the edge of the pool, or in another version he drowned in the pool. A flower sprang up in the spot he died, and it was called the Narcissus plant.

The other derivation is from the Greek express "vapkaw narkao," which means “to grow numb” since the plant has a chemical composition that has some narcotic properties.

The name daffodil comes from the early English Affodell name, which is a variation of Asphodel. The Dutch put a “De” in front of affodell.

The name daffodil was brought to life around the 16th century from those names. An assortment of other names like “Daffadown Dilly” and “daffydowndilly” were used around the same time.

 Geographic Origin

Daffodils are part of the Amaryllis family which is native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa. Botanically the plant is called Narcissus, which has between forty and two hundred species, subspecies, or varieties of species depending on what botanist’s description you read.

Daffodils For North American Gardens claims there are over one hundred species variants and wild hybrids. Thanks to genetic research that number continues to change.

 Description and Characteristics

All Narcissus species have that prominent central trumpet-bowl or the disc shaped corona enclosed in a ring of six floral leaves, which unites in a tube at the forward edge of the ovary.

The seeds are round, black, and swollen with a very hard coat. Traditional folklore describes daffodils as yellow or golden yellow, but due to special breeding the corona and the perianth (six floral leaves) can be a variety of colors.

The American Daffodil Society publishes a Daffodil Journal that contains great information about the latest developments in the world of daffodils. The history, the varieties, and the hybridizing of daffodils are some of issues that keep daffodil lover's aware of the ever-changing world of horticulture.


The range of daffodils in cultivation is constantly modified and extended so there are new variations available from flower specialists every year. In some parts of the US the yellow daffodil is called jonquil, but the jonquil species only refers to several yellow flowers with strong scents and rounded foliage.

Professionally the name jonquil should only be used for daffodils in division 7 or for hybrids in division 13. There are over 13 divisions in the official daffodil classification system since there are over 25,000 registered cultivars (hybrids).

Cultivation and Care

Daffodils have a number of interesting features that attract weekend gardeners as well as professional growers. Daffodils are reasonably priced for the most part because they can multiply through blub division (asexual cloning) as well as from seed (sexually).

They can also be pollinated by the wind or insects when they are blooming. The seed pod can contain one seed or as many as twenty-five seeds when pollen is brushed from one flower to the stigma of another.

When good growing conditions are present daffodils can enjoy a long life. That life can be much longer than the growers who planted them. When weekend gardeners know how and where to plant them they can bloom for six weeks to six months depending on the climate and the growing region of the country.

The experts say that the best care after daffodils bloom is to let the daffodil blub rebuild for the next year. The leaves stay green during that process. When the leaves turn yellow it’s time to cut the leaves off.

Most daffodils are tolerant when it comes to cold weather and even snow doesn’t harm so they can be planted in states that border the Canadian border.

Where to plant daffodils is always a topic of conversation for new gardeners who have vintage trees in their yards or have large shrubs that serve as a backdrop for walkway gardens.

Knowing how to plant daffodils is almost an innate sense since almost all varieties of these hearty plants bloom under the shade of deciduous trees, but it’s good to remember that they are not fond of being planted under evergreens and shrubs. When walkway gardens need flowers it’s best to keep the daffodils away from the shrubs.

Another interesting bit of daffodillia is not forcing daffodils to grow when ivy and pachysandra have already staked a claim in the garden. They don’t last long in that environment, but they do well when shallow-rooted, trailing plants, like, foamflower, myrtle, or creeping phlox are growing.

 Diseases and Pests

Daffodil bulbs contain lycorine, which is a poison so it protects itself from predators for the most part although there are some insects that still make a feast out of it.

Florists have a tendency to develop dermatitis problems while planting daffodil bulbs or when they handle them without gloves because the chemical is so toxic.


Some of the most interesting daffodil facts involved the medicinal uses for the roots as well as the bulbs. The Romans used the roots to dispense any dis-ease that occurred in any part of the body.

They considered it an emollient or erodent. The Japanese treated their wounds with a mixture of wheat flour paste and narcissus root, but modern herbal studies don’t list daffodils as important remedies since there are conflicting reports about its effectiveness in lab animals.


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Daffodils Flower Daffodils Flower Daffodils Flowers