Commonly known as daffodils – all variants belong to the Amarylidaceae family. Narcissus is the botanical name to which daffodils, narcissus and jonquils all belong. There are over 13,000 varieties of narcissi and more than 50 different species. From a horticultural perspective, they are all similar in form although jonquils have rounded tips to the leaves and daffodils and narcissus have blade-like tips. Jonquils are only yellow, but daffodils and narcissus come in a variety of colours such as white, pink, peach and even zesty limes.
They are thought to have arrived in the UK with the Romans in 300BC and are recognised as the national flower of Wales (often worn on St David’s Day). They are grown as a crop in Wales and an alkaloid from them is used in Alzheimer’s medication.
There are many suggestions as to where the name 'daffodil' comes from. One suggestion is that it is derived from the Dutch word Affodyle, meaning 'that which comes early'. Another suggests that it relates to the Greek myth of Narcissus and Echo – whereby Narcissus could not stop admiring his own reflection in a pool (because early varieties of Narcissus would bow their heads to the ground).
They are bulbous perennial plants that often herald the arrival of spring each year and are commonly given as a gift at Easter. They are said to represent rebirth and new beginnings as well as being symbols of creativity, inspiration, awareness and inner reflection, forgiveness, and vitality.
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