Daft for Daffodils

Daft for Daffodils

Who doesn’t love daffodils? Although snowdrops are officially the first flower to put in an appearance each year, with their nodding heads and jolly golden trumpets, daffodils remind us that spring is just around the corner. So where are the best places to see them and what myths and legends surround them?

A little yellow cup,
A little yellow frill,
A little yellow star,
And that’s a daffodil.
Author Unknown

Daffodils originated in the Mediterranean and were brought to the UK by the Romans, who believed the sap of the flower to have healing properties.

Unfortunately for them, all it ended up doing was giving them a rather nasty itch! Apparently, the Romans also carried daffodil bulbs with them during battle – if they were fatally wounded, it was thought that consuming one of them would provide a narcotic effect and make their death less painful.

Daffodil bulbs

It wasn’t until the 1500s that the name of the flower is referred to as daffodil in books of any kind in the English language. Its original name was “affodyle,” thought to originate from the Old English “Affo dyle,” meaning “that which cometh early.”

Daffodils are also the flowers associated with March and are the official flower of the month, as well as being chosen by the Welsh for their buttonholes to celebrate Saint David’s Day.

Although the leek is the national flower of Wales, it’s often believed that a mistake was made as the Welsh names for the two plants are so similar, some kind of mix up is thought to have happened ( a leek is a Cenhinen whilst a daffodil is Cenhinen Pedr).

The Welsh also believe that the person who spots the first daffodil of spring will be favoured with gold.

Daffodils in Church

Legend has it that daffodils bloomed for the very first time around the time Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, so the flower has powerful rebirth connotations for the church at Easter, often referred to as the Lenten Lily.

There are numerous myths and legend surrounding daffodils – to avoid bad luck never bring a single flower into your house and only a great big bunch.

Daffodils are not popular as bridal flowers as they are supposed to represent sorrow and vanity – their Latin name Narcissus is taken from the god of the same name who was turned into a daffodil after disobeying the gods.

Echo and Narcissus

More recently, the term daffodil was used to describe a WW2 soldier who was a waste of space – nice to look at but ‘yellow through and through’.

Wordsworth poem - Daffodils

Whatever their meaning or the myths associated with them, they inspired the poet Wordsworth to write one of the best-known poems in the English language:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 

If you’d like to track down your own host of golden daffodils, we suggest having a look at the National Garden Scheme’s list of daffodil gardens.

Some of the gardens listed open in March whilst others don’t open their doors until the end of April.

Daffodil garden

Whatever the case, you’ll be raising money for one of their charities – the Marie Curie organisation – whose symbol just happens to be a daffodil and whose nurses bring hope to many terminally-ill patients and their families.

Marie Curie Partnership

Leave a reply

Our latest articles...
Pot Luck with Herbs
Container gardening provides instant results and is often a lot easier to manage. It’s also a grea [more]
From Bulging Burgers to Boozey Lollies – great BBQ recipes for the great British summer
The UK has just celebrated National BBQ Week, although someone forgot to tell the weather. We have t [more]
Bringing the Indoors Outside
We get so few days of endless blue skies and bright sunshine, that when the good weather does put in [more]
Say Cheese
Something rather odd happens to the good folk of the Cotswolds and its neighbouring counties around [more]
Healthy Herbs
It doesn’t matter if you live in a flat or a house with acres of garden, anyone can grow herbs; fr [more]
Go Wild in The Country
The Cotswolds and its surrounding counties are renowned for being a foodie paradise. Here at Hoot, w [more]

© 2016 Clutton Cox Limited. All rights reserved. Tel: 01454 312125 Fax: 01454 324682 Email: info@cluttoncox.co.uk

Clutton Cox Limited registered in England No 08848760. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority SRA ID: 612324 Registered office: Parliament House, 4 High Street, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol, BS37 6AH

Legal Disclaimer | Accessibility Statement | Privacy Policy