Spring always seems like an incredible time of the year to me, as it is the season of new beginnings. For me, spring is the most alluring season of the year. New plant life pushes its way out of the ground, the new and fresh buds bloom which embellishes the landscape with its colourful view. Birds and other animals also appear as soon as plants emerge with great enthusiasm, and daffodils represent this annual reawakening of the life force very beautifully. Daffodils are beautiful deceptions of new life which we will be discussing in the following sections.
As is already mentioned above that the daffodils symbolize rebirth and new beginnings. It is said in the context of spring because the coming spring season brings new life. Daffodils are associated with new beginnings because it is one of the first perennials to bloom after the winter frost.
Narcissus, a Latin name for daffodils, is a spring-flowering perennial plant of the amaryllis family, Amaryllidaceae. The name Jonquil is also used to describe some members of the genus.
Daffodils are aboriginal to northern Europe. They are trumpet-like flowers that are grown in temperate climates around the world, which resulted in the production of many varieties, such as the classic yellow. There may be a contrast in the colour of trumpets and petals, such as yellow, pink, white and orange.
The daffodils grow to about 41 cm (16 inches) in height. Each plant features five or six linear leaves. Those leaves grow from the bulb and are about 30 cm (12 inches) long. The stem bears one large yellow blossom with a corolla deeply cleft into six lobes and a central bell-shaped crown, or corona that is drilled at its edges. The trumpet shape contains the stamens and is the flower’s most conspicuous feature.
Procedure to Grow Daffodils
Daffodils are easy to grow. The bulbs should be planted at a depth equal to 2 -3 times the height of the bulb and are placed about two bulbs width apart. A bulb should be placed in the ground with its pointed side facing upwards. The soil in which daffodils are grown should be fertilized, but the fertilizers shouldn’t be placed in the hole that is prepared for the bulb. Concentrated fertilizer can kill a bulb. Bulbs are usually planted in fall and will produce in the flowering spring.
STORY OF NARCISSUS
It is believed that the flower is named after the son of the river god from Greek mythology. Narcissus was recognized for his beauty and therefore was very arrogant and proud about it. The goddess Nemesis noticed this and lured him to the pool where he fell for his reflection.
According to some sources, it is said that he was staring at his reflection and the nymph transformed him into a narcissus flower to get revenge for how he treated other people. Some think he drowned himself to capture his reflection and the flowers that grew along the riverbed are named after him. Some people even think that the nodding heads of the daffodils represent the gaze of Narcissus while bending down to see his reflection. Many assumptions were made, but we still do not know whether it is true or not.
ST. DAVID’S DAY
The daffodil is also known as Narcissus pseudonarcissus is the national flower of Wales. It’s worn on St. David’s day on 1st March. St. David is the patron saint of Wales. He died on 1st March 589 A.D. It is believed that the daffodil’s faithful bloom is associated with his faithfulness toward the people.
DAFFODILS IN CHINA
Daffodils have a great significance in China also, some like it has in Wales. In China, they bloom around Chinese New Year, which indicates good fortune, good luck and prosperity. It is to be believed that if the flowers bloom exactly on New Year’s Day it means that you will have good luck for the entire year.
CURE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASES
Daffodils are not only admired for its beauty and symbolism but are also known for the cure of many diseases. Daffodils produce a chemical known as galantine which is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The chemical galantine is also produced by another spring flower called snowdrop.
Acetylcholine is a chemical that transmits nerve impulses from one cell to another. It is essential for both memory and thought. Acetylcholinesterase is a chemical that breaks acetylcholine. Galantamine inhibits the activity of Acetylcholinesterase. So, thereby increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the brain. Galantamine does not completely cure Alzheimer’s disease but is helpful for mild and moderate cases of the disease.
Daffodil bulbs are poisonous and contain a toxic alkaloid called lycorine. They cannot be consumed immensely, and consuming them in a large amount could kill a person. Symptoms of poisoning include diarrhoea, stomach pain, dizziness and convulsions only in extreme cases.
The leaves, stems, flowers and seed pods of daffodils are also poisonous, however, they contain fewer toxins than the bulbs. Many studies say that many animals, mainly herbivores (as they survive only by eating the leaves of daffodils.
According to the AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY YO ANIMALS [ASPCA], daffodils are poisonous to many domestic animals such as dogs, cats and horses. And because of this people should be aware of the toxicity of the plants, if they want to bring daffodils inside, they should remember this and keep their pets away from daffodils.
The case study given below would help to understand more about the toxicity of daffodils –
In 2009, a group of elementary school, children in the U.K were making soup in a cookery class. They added onions grown in the school garden. Somehow a daffodil bulb was added to the soup. The children got sick not severely. This story shows that the daffodil bulbs should be kept in some safe place, away from children and pets and should be grown away from edible plants so that they do not get mixed with other plants just like in the above case.
CANCER SOCIETY AND THE DAFFODILS
Several Cancer societies around the world celebrate ‘Daffodil Days’. They sell flowers to raise funds that support cancer patients. The daffodils are chosen for this cause because they bloom in early spring and signify new life. This symbolizes hope for the cure among cancer patients.
IN THE END…..
Daffodils are not only known for their alluring and pleasing beauty but also for their significance. How this beautiful flower signifies new life or a new beginning in life. It is compared with the spring season, as the coming spring season brings new life similarly this flower brings hope among people to begin a new chapter in their life and bring positivity to their life. So why not plant this beautiful flower and bring positivity to your life and also enjoy the beauty of this flower.
AAYUSHI DHASMANA(Content writer Intern)