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Scientific Classification
  • N. assoanus (rushleaf jonquil)
  • N. bulbocodium (petticoat daffodil)
  • N. incomparabilis (nonesuch daffodil)
  • N. jonquilla (jonquil)
  • N. medioluteus (primrose peerless)
  • N. odorus (Campernelle jonquil)
  • N. papyraceus Ker-Gawl.(paperwhite narcissus)
  • N. poeticus (poet's narcissus)
  • N. pseudonarcissus (daffodil)
  • N. tazetta (cream narcissus)

Daffodil U.S. distribution

U.S. Daffodil distribution

Daffodils are any of the species of a flowering plants belonging to the taxonomic genus or narcissus. They are native to Portugal and Spain, and now grow abundantly in the United States and all over Europe. The daffodil is used to represent many things, including; chivalry, friendship, and even cancer foundations. This fragrant flower can do more than just brighten a garden; daffodils are known to be used on burns, joint pains and muscle strains. Its profusion can be attributed due to it being poisonous to animals and its ability to live through cold weather.


Daffodil anatomy.jpg

The daffodil is most easily recognized by six petals surrounding the corona, or protruding cup. Although daffodils are often thought of as only yellow flowers, they can actually be orange, pink, bright green and white in an addition to yellow.[1] The corona can be frilled, or in cases of double daffodils, the corona can be split in two. Daffodils range in size from anywhere between two inch stems with flowers a half inch in diameter to two foot stems with five inch wide flowers.[2] The leaves are green, thin, and blade-shaped and the ends begin to droop midway through the season. The stem is thin, upright and also green. The daffodil also contains a pedicle that supports the flower and is located under the flower and above the stem. Before the flower blooms it is surrounded and protected by the sheath. Daffodils have a pistil which contains; a seedpod, stigma, style, and a stamen, which also contains an anther and a filament, all used for reproduction. [3]


Although daffodils mostly reproduce sexually they can also produce asexually when a second plant is not around. The flower contains both the pistil and stamen for reproduction. Daffodils grow from bulbs, which can grow one daffodil or split into two and create two separate daffodil plants. If a daffodil is not in a near proximity of another daffodil, the plant will produce a cluster of flowers, but the flowers cannot scatter themselves, so they stay bundled together. These daughter plants often stay coupled with the mother plant, making it difficult to differentiate between groupings of plants and one singular plant.[4] Commercial daffodil growers will use a process called chipping where the harvester will chip off pieces from a single bulb into up to thirty pieces which will grow back into full bulbs. Often a gardener will attempt to cross divide divisions of daffodils by moving pollen by hand, since the natural cross pollination does not happen often.[5]


Daffodils grow well in slightly acidic soil, ranging from 6-7.5 on the pH scale. They prefer areas where they can receive full sun compared to partly or fully shaded areas. The bulbs will not grow if soil is even slightly too soggy, so the ground must be well drained for premium growth.[6] The daffodil contains lykorine, which is highly poisonous to most insects so they work well keeping bugs out of a flower bed. Rodents and deer will not touch the bulbs either, which keeps the daffodil population abundant. Every part of this plant is poisonous to humans, accidental poisoning by the daffodil's bulb has been reported in the United States and six Scandinavian countries as well.[7] Daffodil plants can live through deep patches of snow and very cold winters, but they wither up with too hot of temperatures and fall over from wind and rain. This plant is native to Spain and Portugal but now can be found all over North America and North Europe. The daffodil grows most abundantly on the eastern and Western coasts of the United States and Canada.[8] Florists often complain about an itch covering their arms and hands, accompanied by skin fissures, cracked palms and swelling. This is caused by the calcium oxalate found on the daffodil's stems, leaves and roots. If this is swallowed, swelling of the throat and inflammation of the mouth may occur.


The daffodil, or narcissus, is mentioned several times in Ancient Greece literacy. Then original name for the daffodil was affodyle, which comes from afo dyle-meaning "the one that comes early" The letter 'D' was added to create daffodil because in 1629 daffodils with petals larger than the corona were named bastard narcissus by a scientist named Parkinson. Later they dropped the word bastard, for professional reasons, leaving just the last letter, D. In the Elizabethan era daffodils were commonly known as Daffodilly, Daffodowndill and Primrose Peereless. Mohammed once said, "He that has two cakes of bread, let him sell one of them for some flowers of the Narcissus, for bread is food for the body, but Narcissus is food of the soul."[9] An ancient Greek tale says there was once a man named Narcissus, and he was immortal and remained that way until he saw his own reflection. When hunting a woman named Echo saw him and fell in love with him. He denied her and her broken heart killed her. A goddess named Nemesis heard this and lured Narcissus to look into the water, when he did he disappeared and in his place was a yellow flower with five petals and a cup, the corona, containing his tears. In medieval times Arabs were convinced that the daffodil could cure baldness. In Wales, giving someone a single daffodil was like putting a curse of bad luck on them, you were to bring a bouquet instead.[10]


Unidentified Daffodil

The American Daffodil Society has grouped daffodils into thirteen groupings because of the plants size and shape.
•Division 1—Trumpet: One flower to a stem the corona is as long or longer than the perianth segments (Examples: Dutch Master, Spellbinder)
•Division 2—Large Cup: One flower to a stem, corona more than one-third but less than equal to the length of the petals (Examples: Carlton, Fragrant Rose)
•Division 3—Small Cup: One flower to a stem, corona not more than one-third the length of the perianth segments (Examples: Angel, Barrett Browning)
•Division 4—Double: One or more flowers to a stem, with twice as many of the perianth segments or the corona or both (Examples: Bridal Crown, Manly)
•Division 5—Triandrus: Usually two or more pendent flowers to a stem, perianth segments are bent backward( Examples: Petrel, Puppet)
•Division 6—Cyclamineus: One flower to a stem, perianth segments significantly bent backwards; flower at an acute angle to the stem, with a very short pedicle (Examples: February Gold, Rapture)
•Division 7—Jonquilla: One to five flowers to a stem, perianth segments reflexed; flowers usually fragrant (Examples: Curlew, Fruit Cup)
•Division 8—Tazetta: Usually three to twenty flowers to a stout stem, leaves are broad, perianth segments spreading, not reflexed; flowers fragrant (Examples: Avalanche, Falconet)
•Division 9—Poeticus: Usually one flower to a stem, perianth segments pure white; corona usually disc-shaped, with a green or yellow center and red rim; flowers fragrant (Examples: Actaea, Felindre)
•Division 10—Bulbocodium: Usually one flower to a stem, perianth segments insignificant compared with corona, filament and style are usually curved (Examples: Kenellis)
•Division 11—Split Corona: Corona is split usually for more than half its length. Further subdivided into divisions 11a and 11b, depending on how corona segments are arranged against the petals (Examples: Cum Laude, Trepolo)
•Division 12—Cultivars which do not fit the definition of any other division (Example: Mesa Verde)
•Division 13—Distinguished Solely by Botanical Name: All species and wild or reputedly wild variants and hybrids (Examples: N. obvallaris, N. x medioluteus)