Flower of the month of April – Daffodil!

daffodilYou know that the Spring has arrived when you see Daffodils blooming everywhere!

Narcissus (Daffodil) naturally grows in meadows, woodlands, along watercourses, and in rocky outcroppings up to subalpine altitudes. They are native to Europe, North Africa and West Asia.

Narcissus is a genus of mainly hardy bulbous perennials in the Amaryllis family. Various common names including daffodilnarcissus, and jonquil are used to describe all or some of the genus. It grows from pale brown-skinned spherical bulbs with pronounced necks. The leafless stems, appearing from early to late spring depending on the species, bear from 1 to 20 blooms.

This is a popular ornamental plant for gardens, parks and as cut flowers, providing color from the end of winter to the beginning of summer. Thousands of varieties and cultivars are available on the market.

All Narcissus species contain the alkaloid poison lycorine, mostly in the bulb but also in the leaves. The sap from the flowers may irritate the skin; the bulb if eaten may cause mild to severe stomach problems.

Daffodil (Narcissus) symbolism

There is no clear evidence that the flower’s name derives directly from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who drowned while gazing at his own reflection in the water. However, the two are firmly linked in popular culture, as illustrated in Salvador Dalí’s painting “Metamorphosis of Narcissus”.

Another Greek myth finds Persephone, daughter of the goddess Demeter, lured to her doom in the Underworld by the god Hades while picking a narcissus flower.

The narcissus is perceived in the West as a symbol of vanity, in the East as a symbol of wealth and good fortune.

The narcissus is a national flower symbolizing the New Year or Newroz in the Kurdish culture.

Various cancer charities around the world, including the American Cancer Society, New Zealand Cancer Society, Cancer Council Australia,and the Irish Cancer Society, use the daffodil emblem as a fundraising symbol. “Daffodil Days”, first instituted in Toronto in 1957 by the Canadian Cancer Society, are organized to raise funds by offering the flowers in return for a donation.

Daffodil is a very popular cut flower available on the market in early spring. Cut stems produce a slimy sap that is toxic to many flowers, including roses, carnations, freesias and tulips. Flowers are ethylene sensitive. In other words do not combine daffodils with the above mentioned flowers and keep them away form fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas.

Enjoy a bouquet of fresh cut daffodils or a pot of blooming ones this Spring!

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