March’s Birth Flower: Daffodil
As spring approaches, daffodils start blooming in gardens and woodlands, making them a fitting symbol for those born in March. But even if it’s not your birth flower, it’s worth learning more about the history, meanings, and symbolism behind this beautiful flower!
Daffodils come in various shades, including yellow, white, and pink, and have a trumpet-shaped crown with six petals. Originating from northern Europe, they can grow in most parts of North America, except for extremely hot and humid regions. While daffodils are known for having a single bloom per stem, other members of the Narcissus genus, like jonquils, produce multiple blooms per stem. In fact, there are thousands of registered daffodil cultivars!
Interestingly, the term “daffodil” refers to multiple species within the Narcissus genus, including jonquils, which are sometimes called rush daffodils. It’s worth remembering that all jonquils are daffodils, but not all daffodils are jonquils.
Legend has it that daffodils are named after Narcissus, a character from Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection and died staring at it. According to the story, a daffodil bloomed where he died.
Here are some meanings and symbolism associated with daffodils:
- As one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, daffodils represent new beginnings, inspiration, forgiveness, and creativity.
- In Wales, seeing the first daffodil of the season is believed to bring wealth for the coming year.
- In China, if a daffodil blooms on New Year’s Day, it’s thought to bring good fortune and wealth for the entire year.
- During medieval times, a drooping daffodil was seen as a sign of impending death.
- In France, daffodils were viewed as a sign of hope.
- In the Middle East, daffodils were believed to have aphrodisiac properties and cure baldness.
- Giving a single daffodil is said to bring misfortune, so it’s better to give a bunch.
- Daffodils are traditionally given to celebrate a 10th wedding anniversary.
- Daffodils have also played a role in history and literature:
- Daffodils are the national flower of Wales and are worn on St. David’s Day on March 1st.
- In ancient Rome, daffodil bulbs and roots were used to treat tumors, while other cultures have used them for joint pain, wounds, burns, and bruises.
- Galantamine, a compound found in daffodils, is used to create drugs that slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Daffodils have been featured in literary works by William Shakespeare and William Wordsworth.
Daffodils are a hardy perennial that returns year after year, making them an easy flower to grow. Plant them in the fall before the first frost to ensure a spring bloom. After the flowers die, remove them, but let the foliage remain to help the bulb develop for the following year. Once the leaves have turned yellow, they can be cut back.
With their bright yellow petals, daffodils represent joy and new beginnings, as poet John Keats wrote, “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Give a bunch of daffodils to someone special to show them that the sun always shines whenever they’re around.