9 Fun Facts About Daffodils

The classic yellow trumpet of a daffodil is a welcome sign of spring. With over 25,000 named varieties, daffodils are one of the most hybridized flowers in the world. The blossoms come in many combinations of yellow, orange, white, red, pink and even green.

Read on to find out more fun facts about this much-loved flower.

1. Daffodils are named after a Greek myth.

You might hear daffodils called by their Latin name Narcissus. They got this name from a Greek myth about a handsome young man named Narcissus. He was given his great beauty by the gods, with the condition that he never looked at a reflection of himself. Eventually he couldnít resist and gazed at himself in a shimmering lake. The gods turned him into a daffodil for his vanity.

Orange fringed daffodil

2. Daffodils were first cultivated in ancient Rome.

The first record of cultivated daffodils was around 200 or 300 B.C. They were widely grown for their ornamental value by the ancient Greeks and Romans, but fell out of favor over time. Itís said that around 1629, a group of Englishmen reintroduced daffodils to the gardening world.

3. Daffodils have had many uses throughout history.

Ancient Greeks farmed and dried daffodils to use as a disinfectant. Daffodils remained in use well into Victorian times, when a paste made from powdered daffodil roots and roasted barley was applied to heal warts, scars and scabs. They were also believed to magically protect an area from malignant forces and help clear negativity.

In medieval times, aristocratic women used yellow dye from the flowers to tint their hair and eyebrows. And in the Middle East, juice of the wild daffodil was used as a cure for baldness.

Narcissus close up

4. Daffodils are lucky, unless youíre a poultry farmer.

In Wales, itís said that if you see the first daffodil of the season, the next 12 months will bring you wealth. A similar legend in China suggests forcing a daffodil bulb to bloom during the New Year will attract good luck to your home.

Although, remember to give daffodils in a bunch if youíre giving them as a gift. A single daffodil can signal misfortune. Also, poultry farmers have banned daffodils from their homes because they believed it would stop their hens from laying eggs.

5. Daffodils are the 10th wedding anniversary flower.

Daffodils represent ten years of marriage, as well as joy, cheerfulness and happiness. If youíve been married for ten years, giving your spouse a bouquet of ten daffodils is an excellent way to show how much joy and happiness theyíve brought you over the years.

6. Cut daffodils canít be mixed with other flowers.

Daffodil sap is toxic to other flowers. Florists typically pre-soak cut daffodils in water for at least 24 hours if they need to include them in an arrangement. Otherwise, theyíre best left to themselves. Keeping cut daffodils in cold water or using a preservation solution will help them last longer.

Double daffodil

7. Daffodils may help treat cancer.

Daffodils have long been used for cancer treatment. Around 400 B.C., Hippocrates recommended a pessary made with narcissus oil to treat uterine tumors. Ancient Romans also used daffodils to treat various forms of cancer.

In modern times, a 2010 study discovered a natural compound in daffodil bulbs, called narciclasine, that may combat aggressive forms of brain cancer. Narciclasine appears to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, but has no adverse effects on normal cells. Researchers are working on bringing a drug containing narciclasine to market within a few years.

8. Daffodils contain a compound used to treat Alzheimerís.

Galantamine is a drug that can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimerís disease. It increases a natural substance in the brain required for thought and memory. Galantamine is obtained from the bulbs and flowers of daffodils, as well as a few other plants in the same family.

Historians believe Homer first wrote about the properties of galantamine around 850 B.C. His book The Odyssey includes a story of men transformed into pigs by the goddess Circe. Odysseus uses a substance from a flower to break the curse and restore their memory.

Frilly daffodils

9. Squirrels wonít eat daffodil bulbs.

Despite its many medicinal uses, all parts of a daffodil plant are very toxic. Even ingesting small amounts can result in vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and potentially death from a breakdown of the nervous system. Unless youíre a certified herbalist, itís recommended to avoid making any daffodil preparations. And make sure you donít plant your daffodil bulbs where dogs or other pets might dig them up.

Related:
A Brief History of Roses
Tulip Mania: 12 Fun Facts
A Brief History of Lilies

139 comments

Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

Thank you

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Greta H
Greta H2 months ago

Thank you

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Marija M
Marija M2 months ago

very beautiful flowers, tks.

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Jim V
Jim Ven4 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S4 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Jerome S
Jerome S5 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven5 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Jerome S
Jerome S5 months ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Ven5 months ago

thanks

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