Narcissus is a genus of bulbous perennials in the Amaryllidaceae family. There are more than 100 species of this plant, which is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa.
Narcissi are usually white or yellow, with six petals (technically, “tepals” or “perianth segments”) and a trumpet-shaped central corona. They are some of the first to bloom in the early spring, announcing the end of winter. Narcissus is one of the most popular flowers in the world, mainly due to the well-known myth of the Greek youth who fell in love with himself.
The genus name comes from the Latin word “narcissus”, which is derived from the Greek “narkissos” and associated with Greek “narke”, meaning “numbness”, because of the sedative effect of the plant.
The common name Daffodil is derived from the “Affodell”, a variant of “Asphodel” which is a genus of popular garden plant.
The name Daffodil refers to all members of the genus Narcissus. However, the name also refers to the Narcissus pseudonarcissus, which is identified by its narrow, grey-green leaves and yellow petals with darker central trumpet.
Apart from its negative connotations due to the association with narcissism, Narcissus symbolizes rebirth and renewal. It represents a new beginning because it’s one of the earliest bulbs to appear in spring.
According to Chinese sayings, if a bulb is forced to bloom during the New Year, it will bring good luck to your home.
Interesting facts about Narcissus:
Significance of Daffodils in Different Cultures
Daffodils are popular in United States and are associated with Easter. It is also a tradition throughout much of Europe. The most common Narcissus species growing throughout America today were brought over from Europe by the early colonists.
The American Daffodil Society (ADS) is the United State’s Center for Daffodil information. It is a nonprofit, educational, charitable organization that has connected daffodil enthusiasts since its founding in 1954.
The Daffodil is one of the national symbols of Wales, associated with St. David’s Day which is celebrated on the 1st March.
Daffodil is widely recognized as a national flower of Wales. However, the Leek has even older associations as a national symbol of the country.
Daffodils are often associated with New Year celebrations in Eastern cultures. In the Kurdish culture, they symbolize the new year of Newroz.
In various cancer charities around the world a Daffodil emblem is used as a symbol.
Daffodils in Art
Narcissus has inspired artists all over the world for at least 2000 years and has had a big influence on the culture. Narcissi have been associated with a number of themes in different cultures, perceived as a symbol of birth, spring, vanity, wealth and death.
The plant was known to the ancient Greeks who acknowledged its beauty in their myths, while the ancient Romans used it to make contributions in honor of their loved ones.
Is Daffodil Poisonous?
All parts of the bulb are toxic to humans and animals and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. Daffodils contain lycorine, an emetic which causes severe vomiting if ingested.
The Myth of Narcissus
The myth of Narcissus comes from a character in Greek mythology, called Narcissus.
According to Greek Mythology, Narcissus, a young hunter who was known for his beauty, loved himself so much that he disdained everyone who fell in love with him. His Nemesis attracted him to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water. After that, he fell in love with his own reflection and stared at himself till the end of his life, unable to leave the beauty of his reflection. Narcissus was undoubtedly self obsessed and only the lake could make him feel love for himself.
Narcissus and Narcissism
In psychology, the term “Narcissism” is used to describe a personality disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for excessive attention and admiration.
Benefits and Uses
Daffodils have been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of cough, colds, asthma and skin problems. They have also been used to induce vomiting in case of poisoning and alcoholism.
Way back in Ancient Greece, the Greek physician Hippocrates recommended daffodil oil for uterine tumors.
The ancient Romans also used this plant for medicinal purposes. They used the roots of Narcissus to dispense diseases that occurred in any part of the body.
These flowers are usually white and yellow.
Some species can reach a height of 10 cm (4 inches), while others can grow up to 90 cm (3 ft) tall.
These plants prefer rich and moist, but well-drained soil and will grow best in soil that is neutral to slightly acidic (pH of 6.0 to 7.0).