March Birth Flower – Daffodil (Narcissus)

March Birth Flower – Daffodil (Narcissus)
19/03/2017 Margarida Moreira

Narcissus, also known as Jonquil or daffodil is often recognized by the yellow, but there are more varieties in white and orange. This sweet-smelling flower features 40 different species.

This beautiful, spring perennial plant that belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family, pushes up through the moist woodlands and grassland to the spring, acknowledging in its roots that the sunshine will come.

The narcissus is originally from Western Europe and grows up to 0,5m (1ft 8in). This fragrant flower blooms in early spring (between March and April) and is considered delicate. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees.

“Daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty.” – William Shakespeare

Medicinal uses

All parts of the plant are poisonous! The name narcissus is probably a reference to a toxic paralyzing alkaloid contained within narcissi bulbs and even The bulb contains toxins and even the flowers are mildly toxic. An extract of the bulb, when applied to open wounds, has caused numbness of the entire nervous system and paralysis of the heart! Please be careful!

An essential oil obtained from the flowers is used in perfumery and aromatherapy – 1 kg of flowers produces 1g absolute of essential oil. But please note that the aroma of the flowers can cause some people to get a headache when they are in a closed room.

Myths and symbol

The myth of the beautiful youth hunter Narcissus (son of River God Cephisus and nymph Lyriope) is one of the most known Greek Myths due to its moral tale (self-love) and but there are two know versions: the Greek and Greco-Roman. Both versions end up with similar results: Narcissus felt in love with his own beauty reflected in the water, leading to his death (drowned trying to embrace it) at the banks of the river or lake from his sorrow. According to the myth, Narcissus is still admiring himself in the Underworld, looking at the waters of the Styx. The flower – narcissus – that is found frequently at the banks of rivers and lakes, took its name after this mythical hero.

The flower narcissus is sometimes used to signify the triumph of divine love and sacrifice over death, selfishness, and sin.

Another myth, this time related to Christians: is that narcissus is one of the first flowers to appear in spring, which represents rebirth, a process that some Christians believe happens during the afterlife. There is also a belief that this flower bloomed once Christ rose from the tomb (symbol of resurrection).

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” – Luther Burbank

Give flowers

If red roses mean love what does the daffodil/narcissus stand for?

There is multiple symbolism regarding this flower per example: new beginnings, rebirth, uncertainty, and respect. Receiving or giving one narcissus will bring “Misfortune” whilst a bunch ensure “Joy and Happiness”.  I can think of no genuine reason to grow and present daffodils in plenty!

A woman giving daffodils to a man has remarked that he is chivalrous.

Ferguson, George Wells. Signs & Symbols in Christian Art. N.p.: Oxford UP, 1959. Google Books. Https://books.google.com.mt. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

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